a person of the same legal status: a jury of one's peers.
a person who is equal to another in abilities, qualifications, age, background, and social status.
something of equal worth or quality: a sky-scraper without peer.
a nobleman.
a member of any of the five degrees of the nobility in Great Britain and Ireland (duke, marquis, earl, viscount, and baron).
Archaic. a companion.

Origin of peer

1175–1225; Middle English per < Old French per < Latin pār equal



verb (used without object)

to look narrowly or searchingly, as in the effort to discern clearly.
to peep out or appear slightly.
to come into view.

Origin of peer

First recorded in 1585–95; perhaps aphetic variant of appear
Related formspeer·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for peer

1. See peep1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for peer

Contemporary Examples of peer

Historical Examples of peer

  • Stevens lowered his voice, and stopped to peer again about the bush.

    The Hunted Woman

    James Oliver Curwood

  • One man went to peer down from the place to which the girl had pointed.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

  • They gather round the spot where the tin stood and peer into the ground, as though some sprite had bewitched it into the earth.

  • "I think he must be going to turn radical," said the Warwickshire peer.


    Benjamin Disraeli

  • There he stopped to peer into the room through the half-closed door.

    A Son of the City

    Herman Gastrell Seely

British Dictionary definitions for peer




a member of a nobility; nobleman
a person who holds any of the five grades of the British nobility: duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baronSee also life peer
  1. a person who is an equal in social standing, rank, age, etc
  2. (as modifier)peer pressure
archaic a companion; mate

Word Origin for peer

C14 (in sense 3): from Old French per, from Latin pār equal



verb (intr)

to look intently with or as if with difficultyto peer into the distance
to appear partially or dimlythe sun peered through the fog

Word Origin for peer

C16: from Flemish pieren to look with narrowed eyes
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 peer

c.1300, "an equal in rank or status" (early 13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Anglo-French peir, Old French per (10c.), from Latin par "equal" (see par (n.)). Sense of "a noble" (late 14c.) is from Charlemagne's Twelve Peers in the old romances, who, like the Arthurian knights of the Round Table, originally were so called because all were equal. Sociological sense of "one of the same age group or social set" is from 1944. Peer review attested by 1970. Peer pressure is first recorded 1971.


"to look closely," 1590s, variant of piren (late 14c.), with a long -i-, probably related to or from East Frisian piren "to look," of uncertain origin. Influenced in form and sense by Middle English peren (late 14c.), shortened form of aperen (see appear). Related: Peered; peering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper