[ sneer ]
See synonyms for: sneersneeredsneeringsneerer on

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.

verb (used with object)
  1. to utter or say in a sneering manner.

  1. a look or expression of derision, scorn, or contempt.

  2. a derisive or scornful utterance, especially one more or less covert or insinuative.

  1. an act of sneering.

Origin of sneer

First recorded in 1545–55; originally, “to snort”; compare Frisian (northern dialect) sneere “scornful remark,” snarl1

synonym study For sneer

2. See scoff1.

Other words for sneer

Other words from sneer

  • sneerer, noun
  • sneerful, adjective
  • sneer·ing·ly, adverb
  • sneerless, adjective
  • sub·sneer, noun
  • un·sneer·ing, adjective
  • un·sneer·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use sneer in a sentence

  • The two men have sneered at Hirsi Ali in print, dismissing her as an “Enlightenment fundamentalist.”

    The Last Liberal? | Tunku Varadarajan | May 26, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • "It was by Marius's contrivance that he was placed sentry over the girl," he heard her tell Fortunio, and he thought she sneered.

    St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
  • “Going to dig over the whole cellar, I suppose,” sneered the other, and clenched his fists nervously.

    The Rival Campers | Ruel Perley Smith
  • "Yes; all men that run chances have their superstitions, and they're not to be sneered at," replied Crozier thoughtfully.

  • Julian sneered, but sneered in vain, and at last ceased to try and tempt Digby to join him in his malpractices.

    Digby Heathcote | W.H.G. Kingston
  • "Talk of that after midnight," sneered Burlingame desperately as the door was opened for him by Crozier.

British Dictionary definitions for sneer


/ (snɪə) /

  1. a facial expression of scorn or contempt, typically with the upper lip curled

  2. a scornful or contemptuous remark or utterance

  1. (intr) to assume a facial expression of scorn or contempt

  2. to say or utter (something) in a scornful or contemptuous manner

Origin of sneer

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

Derived forms of sneer

  • sneerer, noun
  • sneerful, adjective
  • sneering, adjective, noun
  • sneeringly, adverb

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