\ ˈflir How to pronounce fleer (audio) \
fleered; fleering; fleers

Definition of fleer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to laugh or grimace in a coarse derisive manner : sneer



Definition of fleer (Entry 2 of 2)

: a word or look of derision or mockery

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Other Words from fleer


fleeringly \ ˈflir-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce fleer (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for fleer


scoff, jeer, gibe, fleer, sneer, flout mean to show one's contempt in derision or mockery. scoff stresses insolence, disrespect, or incredulity as motivating the derision. scoffed at their concerns jeer suggests a coarser more undiscriminating derision. the crowd jeered at the prisoners gibe implies taunting either good-naturedly or in sarcastic derision. hooted and gibed at the umpire fleer suggests grinning or grimacing derisively. the saucy jackanapes fleered at my credulity sneer stresses insulting by contemptuous facial expression, phrasing, or tone of voice. sneered at anything romantic flout stresses contempt shown by refusal to heed. flouted the conventions of polite society

Did you know?


Fleer first appeared in English as a verb (fleryen in Middle English) meaning "to laugh, grin, or grimace in a coarse manner." The verb is of Scandinavian origin and is akin to the Norwegian flire, meaning "to giggle." The noun fleer first and most famously appeared in William Shakespeare's tragedy Othello, in which the evil Iago invites Othello to observe the signs of his wife's unfaithfulness in the visage of her supposed lover, Cassio: "And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns / That dwell in every region of his face…."

Examples of fleer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fleer's plant - a long, brick building along the railroad tracks near North 10th Street in Olney - stood just blocks from my parents' rowhouse. Frank Fitzpatrick, Philly.com, 25 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fleer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of fleer


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1604, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fleer


Middle English fleryen, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian flire to giggle

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The first known use of fleer was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Fleer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fleer. Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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