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sheers

[sheerz]
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noun (usually used with a plural verb)
  1. shear(def 16).
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sheer1

[sheer]
adjective, sheer·er, sheer·est.
  1. transparently thin; diaphanous, as some fabrics: sheer stockings.
  2. unmixed with anything else: We drilled a hundred feet through sheer rock.
  3. unqualified; utter: sheer nonsense.
  4. extending down or up very steeply; almost completely vertical: a sheer descent of rock.
  5. British Obsolete. bright; shining.
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adverb
  1. clear; completely; quite: ran sheer into the thick of battle.
  2. perpendicularly; vertically; down or up very steeply.
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noun
  1. a thin, diaphanous material, as chiffon or voile.
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Origin of sheer1

1175–1225; Middle English scere, shere, schere free, clear, bright, thin; probably < Old Norse skǣrr; change of sk- > s(c)h- perhaps by influence of the related Old English scīr (E dial. shire clear, pure, thin); cognate with German schier, Old Norse skīr, Gothic skeirs clear; see shine1
Related formssheer·ly, adverbsheer·ness, noun
Can be confusedshear sheer

Synonyms

See more synonyms for sheer on Thesaurus.com
2. mere, simple, pure, unadulterated. 3. absolute, downright. 4. abrupt, precipitous. 6. totally, entirely.

Antonyms

1. opaque.

sheer2

[sheer]
verb (used without object)
  1. to deviate from a course, as a ship; swerve.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to sheer.
  2. Shipbuilding. to give sheer to (a hull).
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noun
  1. a deviation or divergence, as of a ship from its course; swerve.
  2. Shipbuilding. the fore-and-aft upward curve of the hull of a vessel at the main deck or bulwarks.
  3. Nautical. the position in which a ship at anchor is placed to keep it clear of the anchor.
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Origin of sheer2

1620–30; special use of sheer1; compare sense development of clear
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sheers

Historical Examples

  • Failing in that, it generally shears off a limb before it sheers away.

    Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 17, July 23, 1870

    Various

  • I should not be far off then; there went but a pair of sheers and a bodkin between us.

  • She has badly overrun her station, and sheers to the left of our leading ship.

    A Fleet in Being

    Rudyard Kipling

  • Drop it when I tell you and let the kedge go after she sheers!

  • For this purpose the smallest chain-cable was used, the rudder being raised from the deck by means of sheers.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper


British Dictionary definitions for sheers

sheer1

adjective
  1. perpendicular; very steepa sheer cliff
  2. (of textiles) so fine as to be transparent
  3. (prenominal) absolute; unmitigatedsheer folly
  4. obsolete bright or shining
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adverb
  1. steeply or perpendicularly
  2. completely or absolutely
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noun
  1. any transparent fabric used for making garments
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Derived Formssheerly, adverbsheerness, noun

Word Origin

Old English scīr; related to Old Norse skīrr bright, Gothic skeirs clear, Middle High German schīr

sheer2

verb (foll by off or away ( from ))
  1. to deviate or cause to deviate from a course
  2. (intr) to avoid an unpleasant person, thing, topic, etc
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noun
  1. the upward sweep of the deck or bulwarks of a vessel
  2. nautical the position of a vessel relative to its mooring
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Word Origin

C17: perhaps variant of shear
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 sheers

sheer

adj.

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.

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sheer

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper