queer

[ kweer ]
/ kwɪər /

adjective, queer·er, queer·est.

verb (used with object)

noun

Slang:Often Disparaging and Offensive. (The noun “a queer” is often used with disparaging intent and considered offensive even among those who approve of the corresponding adjective “queer.” The plural “queers” is less likely to offend than the singular “a queer.”)
  1. a term used to refer to a person who is gay.
  2. a person whose sexual orientation or gender identity falls outside the heterosexual mainstream or the gender binary.
Slang. counterfeit money.

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Idioms for queer

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

Origin of queer

First recorded in 1500–10; perhaps from German quer “oblique, cross, adverse”

usage note for queer

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. So the label queer can be offensive and painful or embraced and affirming—it all depends on the speaker’s identity, relationship to the subject, and the context of use. In-group vocabulary is not always appropriate for use by others.
Queer is also a term used by activists and academics: queer politics; scholars of queer literature. The term has more recently come to include any person whose sexuality or gender identity falls outside the heterosexual norm or the gender binary. A person identifying as queer can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, gender-fluid, etc., and the use of queer allows for the expression of LGBTQ community membership without requiring any specific label.

synonym study for queer

1. See strange.

OTHER WORDS FROM queer

queer·ly, adverbqueer·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for queer

queer
/ (kwɪə) /

adjective

noun

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 forms of queer

queerish, adjectivequeerly, adverbqueerness, noun

Word Origin for queer

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

usage for queer

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