\ ˈlir How to pronounce leer (audio) \
leered; leering; leers

Definition of leer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to cast a sidelong glance especially : to give a leer Some female employees complained that they were being leered at by male employees.



Definition of leer (Entry 2 of 2)

: a lascivious, knowing, or wanton look

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Other Words from leer


leeringly \ ˈlir-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce leeringly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of leer in a Sentence

Verb She complained that some disgusting man was leering at her. He gave her a leering look.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Adults would leer, staring pointedly at our food, though comments were mercifully rare. Your Fat Friend, SELF, "We Have to Stop Thinking of Being ‘Healthy’ as Being Morally Better," 7 Aug. 2020 In another, a widow fends off a leering priest by tricking him into sleeping with her maid. Kathryn Mckinley, The Conversation, "How the rich reacted to the bubonic plague has eerie similarities to today’s pandemic," 16 Apr. 2020 And so the plot is that of a fantastical and miserable quest, like The Lord of the Rings or The Wizard of Oz, except the monsters are leering men and deceitful medical personnel and relentless, mind-bending legal hurdles. Kaitlin Menza, Marie Claire, "The Excruciating Necessity of 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always'," 10 Apr. 2020 Chalk that up to a script that would rather leer at our current social predicaments than engage with them critically (i.e. in the way of all worthy satire). Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to watch in theaters or stream at home this weekend," 13 Mar. 2020 The camera cuts to a father figure leering at the couple with suspicion, and then to two girls sitting at the table who giggle knowingly. NBC News, "China's gay community praises Alibaba for ad with same-sex couple," 9 Jan. 2020 There are some physical frights, too: bumps in the night, clowns that leer at and chase teens, a zombie who tries to drag a girl into the water and plenty of jump scares, as well as the implication of people’s disappearances. Washington Post, "What to watch with your kids: ‘Harriet,’ ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ and more," 31 Oct. 2019 Sean was muscled, but not from the gym, and there was a defiant, leering gap in his grin, where one of his front teeth was missing. Tessa Hadley, The New Yorker, "The Bunty Club," 21 Oct. 2019 The camera forces the viewer to spend nearly as much time leering at culturally appropriative dancers at a salsa club in Miami as Midge does. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: The marvel is wearing off in 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Season 3," 6 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In quarantine, without the leer of strangers on the sidewalk, could fabulousness occur? Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Queer Nightlife Is About Being Together. The Coronavirus Is Testing That.," 10 June 2020 Most of Apple’s sketches are executed with a leer, suggesting distance. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Fiona Apple’s Survival Guide to Isolation," 17 Apr. 2020 Aside from a brief flash of bared bum in the final scene, there is no full nudity here, and the show looks at its characters not with a leer but a rueful smile of compassion. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "‘Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice’ Review: Four on a Mattress, With Songs," 4 Feb. 2020 Each feral snort and supercilious leer, each vaulted syllable of his chewy mitteleuropäisch accent, and each tremor of his predatory gestures plays to the intense concentration of Merhige’s pressing close-ups. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What to Stream This Weekend: Willem Dafoe in “Shadow of the Vampire”," 18 Oct. 2019 For one long sequence, Hustlers loses its propriety and leers like the wolf in Looney Tunes. Ross Douthat, National Review, "Jennifer Lopez Delivers a Career-High Performance in Hustlers," 26 Sep. 2019 Still, freedom often meant pumping, grudgingly, in odd places, while women who chose to nurse endured tsk-tsks or leers. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "The Breastfeeding Movement Is Experiencing a Tech Revolution—Here's How It's Helping New Moms," 11 Sep. 2018 Marilyn Monroe’s rear is getting some leers in Connecticut. Dave Collins, Courant Community, "Some Like It Not: Marilyn Monroe Statue Has Stamford Church Venting," 8 June 2018 Marilyn Monroe's rear is getting some leers in Connecticut. Dave Collins, chicagotribune.com, "Marilyn Monroe statue near church draws some ire," 8 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of leer


1530, in the meaning defined above


1598, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for leer

Verb and Noun

probably from obsolete leer cheek

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Statistics for leer

Last Updated

11 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Leer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leer. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for leer


How to pronounce leer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of leer

: to look at someone in an evil or unpleasantly sexual way


\ ˈlir How to pronounce leer (audio) \
leered; leering

Kids Definition of leer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to look with an unpleasant, mean, or eager glance



Kids Definition of leer (Entry 2 of 2)

: an unpleasant, mean, or eager glance

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More from Merriam-Webster on leer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leer

Spanish Central: Translation of leer

Nglish: Translation of leer for Spanish Speakers

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