adjective, queer·er, queer·est.

verb (used with object)


  1. Disparaging and Offensive.a term used to refer to a a person who is gay or lesbian.
  2. a person whose sexual orientation or gender identity falls outside the heterosexual mainstream or the gender binary.
Slang. counterfeit money.


    queer the pitch, British Informal. to spoil the chances of success.

Origin of queer

1500–10; perhaps < German quer oblique, cross, adverse
Related formsqueer·ly, adverbqueer·ness, noun

Usage alert

Since the early 20th century, queer has had the meaning “gay or lesbian,” and for much of the time has been used with disparaging intent and perceived as insulting. Since the 1980s, queer has increasingly been adopted especially among younger members of the gay and lesbian community as a positive term of self-reference. However, the term is not universally accepted within the LGBT community, and might still be viewed by some as degrading. Queer is also a term used by activists and academics: queer politics; scholars of queer literature. And the term has more recently come to include any person whose sexuality or gender identity falls outside the heterosexual mainstream or the gender binary. A person identifying as queer can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gender-fluid, etc., but the use of queer avoids any specific label.

Synonyms for queer

Antonyms for queer

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for queerest

Historical Examples of queerest

  • Queerest of all, he used to be a very high-and-dry Tory in his opinions.

  • Queerest of all—there had not been one ray of visible light.

    Sign of the Green Arrow

    Roy J. (Roy Judson) Snell

  • Queerest accident that ever happened to me on the railroad, too.

    Mr. Munchausen 

    John Kendrick Bangs

  • Queerest sight of all, here and there were peasants at work in the fields.

    The Kingdom of the Blind

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • Queerest thing of all, too, they'd never met before and didn't like each other now they had met.'


    Rolf Boldrewood

British Dictionary definitions for queerest



differing from the normal or usual in a way regarded as odd or strange
suspicious, dubious, or shady
faint, giddy, or queasy
informal, taboo homosexual
informal odd or unbalanced mentally; eccentric or slightly mad
slang worthless or counterfeit


informal, taboo a homosexual, usually a male

verb (tr) informal

to spoil or thwart (esp in the phrase queer someone's pitch)
to put in a difficult or dangerous position
Derived Formsqueerish, adjectivequeerly, adverbqueerness, noun

Word Origin for queer

C16: perhaps from German quer oblique, ultimately from Old High German twērh


Although the term queer meaning homosexual is still considered highly offensive when used by non-homosexuals, it is often used by homosexuals themselves as a positive term, as in queer politics, queer cinema
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 queerest



c.1500, "strange, peculiar, eccentric," from Scottish, perhaps from Low German (Brunswick dialect) queer "oblique, off-center," related to German quer "oblique, perverse, odd," from Old High German twerh "oblique," from PIE root *terkw- "to turn, twist, wind" (see thwart (adv.)).

Sense of "homosexual" first recorded 1922; the noun in this sense is 1935, from the adjective. Related: Queerly. Queer studies as an academic discipline attested from 1994.



"to spoil, ruin," 1812, from queer (adj.). Related: Queered; queering. Earlier it meant "to puzzle, ridicule, cheat" (1790). To queer the pitch (1846) is in reference to the patter of an itinerant tradesman or showman (see pitch (n.1)).

These wanderers, and those who are still seen occasionally in the back streets of the metropolis, are said to 'go a-pitching ;' the spot they select for their performance is their 'pitch,' and any interruption of their feats, such as an accident, or the interference of a policeman, is said to 'queer the pitch,'--in other words, to spoil it. [Thomas Frost, "Circus Life and Circus Celebrities," London, 1875]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper