Dictionary

1sheer

verb \ˈshir\

: to turn suddenly

Full Definition of SHEER

intransitive verb
:  to deviate from a course :  swerve
transitive verb
:  to cause to sheer

Examples of SHEER

  1. <the cruise ship sheered to the northwest, putting it safely out of the path of the hurricane>
  2. <the car sheered to avoid hitting the dog>

Origin of SHEER

perhaps alteration of 1shear
First Known Use: 1539

2sheer

noun

Definition of SHEER

1
:  a turn, deviation, or change in a course (as of a ship)
2
:  the position of a ship riding to a single anchor and heading toward it

First Known Use of SHEER

1670

3sheer

adjective

—used to emphasize the large amount, size, or degree of something

: complete and total

: very steep : almost straight up and down

Full Definition of SHEER

1
obsolete :  bright, shining
2
:  of very thin or transparent texture :  diaphanous
3
a :  unqualified, utter <sheer folly> <sheer ignorance>
b :  being free from an adulterant :  pure, unmixed
c :  viewed or acting in dissociation from all else <in terms of sheer numbers>
4
:  marked by great and continuous steepness
sheer·ly adverb
sheer·ness noun

Examples of SHEER

  1. a sheer drop to the sea
  2. <we had to get window shades because passersby could see right through our sheer curtains>

Origin of SHEER

Middle English schere freed from guilt, probably alteration of skere, from Old Norse skærr pure; akin to Old English scīnan to shine
First Known Use: circa 1568

Synonym Discussion of SHEER

steep, abrupt, precipitous, sheer mean having an incline approaching the perpendicular. steep implies such sharpness of pitch that ascent or descent is very difficult <a steep hill> <a steep dive>. abrupt implies a sharper pitch and a sudden break in the level <a beach with an abrupt drop-off>. precipitous applies to an incline approaching the vertical <the river winds through a precipitous gorge>. sheer suggests an unbroken perpendicular expanse <sheer cliffs that daunted the climbers>.

4sheer

adverb

: straight up or down

Full Definition of SHEER

1
:  in a complete manner :  altogether
2
:  straight up or down without a break :  perpendicularly

Examples of SHEER

  1. mountains rising sheer from the plains

First Known Use of SHEER

1599

5sheer

noun

Definition of SHEER

:  a sheer fabric; also :  an article of such a fabric

First Known Use of SHEER

circa 1920

6sheer

noun

Definition of SHEER

:  the fore-and-aft curvature from bow to stern of a ship's deck as shown in side elevation

Origin of SHEER

perhaps alteration of 2shear
First Known Use: 1691
SHEERLY Defined for Kids

sheer

adjective \ˈshir\
sheer·ersheer·est

Definition of SHEER for Kids

1
:  very thin or transparent <sheer curtains>
2
:  complete and total :  absolute <sheer nonsense>
3
:  taken or acting apart from everything else <He won through sheer determination.>
4
:  very steep <a sheer cliff>

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July 04, 2015
stringent Hear it
rigorous, strict, or severe
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