- to smile, laugh, or contort the face in a manner that shows scorn or contempt: They sneered at his pretensions.
- to speak or write in a manner expressive of derision or scorn.
- to utter or say in a sneering manner.
- a look or expression of derision, scorn, or contempt.
- a derisive or scornful utterance, especially one more or less covert or insinuative.
- an act of sneering.
Origin of sneer
SynonymsSee more synonyms for sneer on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sneering
Their shocked glee was cacophonous: for many conservatives, the glitterati of Hollywood are a bunch of sneering atheists.Matthew McConaughey’s God Moment
March 3, 2014
The far more disturbing aspect is the sneering tone of accusation that can creep into the latest revelation.Could Tylenol Cause ADHD?
February 25, 2014
Second: even if the idea were a good idea, the NRA's sneering references to the president's family are beyond the pale.The NRA Guns for Sasha and Malia
January 16, 2013
Three months ago, what was on display was the well-developed British talent for carping, sneering, and nitpicking.Britain Gets Its Groove Back
September 16, 2012
Then came the pivot to taking on the opposition, which Biden did with his customary relish: smiling rather than sneering.Joe Biden’s Happy Warrior Speech
September 7, 2012
The detective indulged himself in a cackle of sneering merriment.Within the Law
Duvillard at last murmured, sneering, but in despair, "we'll arrange it all."The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete
Daguenet scrutinized her slyly, sneering in his chaffing way.
Old Wilson was waving a paper over his head and laughing and sneering.The Shadow of a Crime
His grandfather was sneering at him once more; he was always sneering at him.The Portygee
Joseph Crosby Lincoln
- a facial expression of scorn or contempt, typically with the upper lip curled
- a scornful or contemptuous remark or utterance
- (intr) to assume a facial expression of scorn or contempt
- to say or utter (something) in a scornful or contemptuous manner
Word Origin and History for sneering
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).
1707, from sneer (v.).