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leer1

[leer]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to look with a sideways or oblique glance, especially suggestive of lascivious interest or sly and malicious intention: I can't concentrate with you leering at me.
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noun
  1. a lascivious or sly look.
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Origin of leer1

1520–30; perhaps v. use of obsolete leer cheek (Middle English leor, Old English hlēor; cognate with Old Norse hlȳr (plural))
Related formsleer·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

stareeyesmirkgogglewinkgloatoglesneersquinteyeball

Examples from the Web for leering

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • His fist shot out, caught the leering guard flush on his chin.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • He turned his back after leering terribly as he looked at Gervaise.

    L'Assommoir

    Emile Zola

  • He spun round in his amazement and met the leering face of Ayoub.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • I have stirred up ghosts of the past—leering ghosts, and I hate them.

    Possessed

    Cleveland Moffett

  • But now the brute came back, cautiously, crouching and leering.


British Dictionary definitions for leering

leer

verb
  1. (intr) to give an oblique, sneering, or suggestive look or grin
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noun
  1. such a look
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Derived Formsleering, adjective, nounleeringly, adverb

Word Origin

C16: perhaps verbal use of obsolete leer cheek, from Old English hlēor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for leering

leer

n.

1590s, from leer (v).

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leer

v.

"to look obliquely" (now usually implying "with a lustful or malicious intent"), 1520s, probably from Middle English noun ler "cheek," from Old English hleor "the cheek, the face," from Proto-Germanic *khleuzas "near the ear," from *kleuso- "ear," from PIE root *kleu- "to hear" (see listen). The notion is probably of "looking askance" (cf. figurative development of cheek). Related: Leered; leering.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper