1 of 2


leered; leering; leers

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.
leeringly adverb


2 of 2


: a lascivious, knowing, or wanton look

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
After a shower one day, a guard stopped her and leered at her, using a baton to remove the towel that covered her breasts. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 2 May 2024 One reason why is that Bon Jovi never seemed leering in the way that some of your ’80s hair-metal contemporaries did. Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times, 25 Apr. 2024 The girls said they were molested in bed and raped in an administrative office, leered at in the communal shower and surveilled in the bathroom. Rebecca Ellis, Los Angeles Times, 13 Dec. 2023 Be prepared to see leering closeups of those misshapen chompers too many times to count. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Dec. 2023 Left unsaid is that Brand himself was a creation of legacy gatekeepers and their customers — the media companies that employed him, the outlets that toasted him, the viewers who couldn’t resist — and a leering testament to their priorities. Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times, 13 Nov. 2023 At a time when punk rockers frowned on guitar solos and flashy playing, Becerra embraced both, usually while stomping around the stage, leering at the audience and playing harder and faster than many of the hardcore bands that were taking over the L.A. punk scene. Jim Ruland, Los Angeles Times, 19 Sep. 2023 My eyes dart to John Eastman, who flashes a leering grin. Kyler Alvord, Peoplemag, 26 Sep. 2023 Instead of being leered at, women are simply ignored, not attended to at all. Phillip MacIak, The New Republic, 7 Sep. 2023
Throughout the show, Redmayne leers at the crowd from the edge of the stage and slinks around tables of dining guests. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 19 Apr. 2024 But the line between a gaze and a leer can be terribly thin—and The Royal Hotel shows in taut, tense sequences how being accommodating only works so well as a defense mechanism. David Sims, The Atlantic, 22 Sep. 2023 Arguably, the perfect outfit for the deep-frying weather was a silver bikini — sensible, striking, reflective of heat and light and leers alike. Bart Bull, SPIN, 16 Feb. 2023 The living leer had gone out of it. Cynthia Ozick, The New Yorker, 7 Mar. 2022 Another image from the early nineties shows Sophia seated at a table, fixing the artist, or the viewer, with a horrifying leer. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 5 Jan. 2023 In his first narrative feature in 10 years, Andrew Dominik brings intoxicating visual style and a voyeuristic leer to Joyce Carol Oates’ 700-plus page biographical fiction novel of the same name. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Sep. 2022 This holds truest for the relationship that eventually blossoms between Stede and the fearsome pirate warrior Blackbeard, played by Waititi with an impressive gray tangle of a beard and a leer that errs more curious than truly wicked. Caroline Framke, Variety, 3 Mar. 2022 In quarantine, without the leer of strangers on the sidewalk, could fabulousness occur? Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 10 June 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'leer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun

probably from obsolete leer cheek

First Known Use


1530, in the meaning defined above


1598, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of leer was in 1530

Dictionary Entries Near leer

Cite this Entry

“Leer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leer. Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to give a nasty or sexually suggestive look
leer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on leer

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!