[ kweer ]
/ kwɪər /
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.
adjective, queer·er, queer·est.
strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different; singular: a queer notion of justice.
of a questionable nature or character; suspicious; shady: Something queer about the language of the prospectus kept investors away.
not feeling physically right or well; giddy, faint, or qualmish: to feel queer.
mentally unbalanced or deranged.
- Usually Disparaging and Offensive. (of a person) gay or lesbian.
- noting or relating to a sexual orientation or gender identity that falls outside the heterosexual mainstream or the gender binary: queer subcultures.
Slang. bad, worthless, or counterfeit.
verb (used with object)
to spoil; ruin.
to put (a person) in a hopeless or disadvantageous situation as to success, favor, etc.
- Disparaging and Offensive. a term used to refer to a a person who is gay or lesbian.
- 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
SYNONYMS FOR queer
Related formsqueer·ly, adverbqueer·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for queerness
/ (kwɪə) /
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