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See more synonyms for sneer on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to smile, laugh, or contort the face in a manner that shows scorn or contempt: They sneered at his pretensions.
  2. to speak or write in a manner expressive of derision or scorn.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to utter or say in a sneering manner.
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  1. a look or expression of derision, scorn, or contempt.
  2. a derisive or scornful utterance, especially one more or less covert or insinuative.
  3. an act of sneering.
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Origin of sneer

1545–55; orig., to snort; compare Frisian (N dial.) sneere scornful remark, snarl1
Related formssneer·er, nounsneer·ful, adjectivesneer·ing·ly, adverbsneer·less, adjectivesub·sneer, nounun·sneer·ing, adjectiveun·sneer·ing·ly, adverb


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2. gibe. See scoff1. 5. scoff, gibe, jeer.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for sneered

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "A sneak always lies well," he replied, as he sneered at Lanning.

  • How could there be any hope of a boy who sneered at his mother?

  • Cassidy sneered, outraged by such impudence on the part of an ex-convict.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • "That's what the Public are up against in this game," sneered the backer of Lucretia.


    W. A. Fraser

  • At which he sneered, and said that was a bull and a blunder, but no wonder, as I was an Irishman.

British Dictionary definitions for sneered


  1. a facial expression of scorn or contempt, typically with the upper lip curled
  2. a scornful or contemptuous remark or utterance
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  1. (intr) to assume a facial expression of scorn or contempt
  2. to say or utter (something) in a scornful or contemptuous manner
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Derived Formssneerer, nounsneerful, adjectivesneering, adjective, nounsneeringly, adverb

Word Origin

C16: perhaps from Low Dutch; compare North Frisian sneere contempt
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 sneered



1550s, "to snort" (of horses), perhaps from North Frisian sneere "to scorn," related to Old English fnæran "to snort, gnash one's teeth," of imitative origin (cf. Danish snærre "to grin like a dog," Middle Dutch, Middle High German snarren "to rattle"). Meaning "to smile contemptuously" is from 1670s; sense of "to curl the upper lip in scorn" is attested from 1775. Related: Sneered; sneering. Sneer word is in E. Digby Baltzell (1987).

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1707, from sneer (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper