- transparently thin; diaphanous, as some fabrics: sheer stockings.
- unmixed with anything else: We drilled a hundred feet through sheer rock.
- unqualified; utter: sheer nonsense.
- extending down or up very steeply; almost completely vertical: a sheer descent of rock.
- British Obsolete. bright; shining.
- clear; completely; quite: ran sheer into the thick of battle.
- perpendicularly; vertically; down or up very steeply.
- a thin, diaphanous material, as chiffon or voile.
Origin of sheer1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for sheer on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sheerest
Ms. Alexander is carrying this heavy mantle as if it were made of sheerest pashmina.There Was a Young Man Named Obama
December 28, 2008
This was the sheerest "bluff," but it was delivered with all the assurance in the world.Fair Harbor
Joseph Crosby Lincoln
It was only by the sheerest accident that he had found out, even now, about them.Space Viking
Henry Beam Piper
It would have been the sheerest affectation on his part to have evaded the question.The Book of All-Power
If either you or I ever reach our destination, it will be by the sheerest accident.The Land of Thor
J. Ross Browne
But it remained, as usual, for a woman to attain the sheerest pitch of audacity.Revolution and Other Essays
- perpendicular; very steepa sheer cliff
- (of textiles) so fine as to be transparent
- (prenominal) absolute; unmitigatedsheer folly
- obsolete bright or shining
- steeply or perpendicularly
- completely or absolutely
- any transparent fabric used for making garments
- to deviate or cause to deviate from a course
- (intr) to avoid an unpleasant person, thing, topic, etc
- the upward sweep of the deck or bulwarks of a vessel
- nautical the position of a vessel relative to its mooring
Word Origin and History for sheerest
c.1200, "exempt, free from guilt" (e.g. Sheer Thursday, the Thursday of Holy Week); later schiere "thin, sparse" (c.1400), from Old English scir "bright, clear, gleaming; translucent; pure, unmixed," and influenced by Old Norse cognate scær "bright, clean, pure," both from Proto-Germanic *skeran- (cf. Old Saxon skiri, Old Frisian skire, German schier, Gothic skeirs "clean, pure"), from PIE root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)).
Sense of "absolute, utter" (sheer nonsense) developed 1580s, probably from the notion of "unmixed;" that of "very steep" (a sheer cliff) is first recorded 1800, probably from notion of "continued without halting." Meaning "diaphanous" is from 1560s. As an adverb from c.1600.
1620s, "deviate from course" (of a ship), of obscure origin, perhaps from Dutch scheren "to move aside, withdraw, depart," originally "to separate" (see shear (v.)). Related: Sheered; shearing. As a noun from 1660s.