[ 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

  • One of those in the party, an actor, spoke very sneeringly of that romantic district and its people.

    My Wonderful Visit | Charlie Chaplin
  • I've heard of two other instances of your speaking sneeringly of him.

    Warrior Gap | Charles King
  • "The finish will decide that, I should say," Moran replied sneeringly.

    Hidden Gold | Wilder Anthony
  • He sneeringly replied: "I pay fur my licker an' it's nun uf yer dam business how much I drink uf it."

    Watch Yourself Go By | Al. G. Field
  • But he replied that he cared nothing for the police, and the others laughed sneeringly and agreed.

    A Frontier Mystery | Bertram Mitford

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