\ 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 Much of the country leered at the hippies—news coverage made Woodstock out to be all mud and misery—and yet conservative-leaning natives of Sullivan County donated groceries when the fest’s food ran out. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Why Woodstock Can Never Happen Again," 6 Aug. 2019 It should be said that Phoenix is stunning in the role: a figure adjacent but entirely apart from Jack Nicholson’s leering cartoon or Heath Ledger’s giddy, commanding anarchist. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Joaquin Phoenix’s captivating, unsettling Joker is no laughing matter," 10 Sep. 2019 Despite the joyous stupidity, Trump’s leering glances toward Greenland made clear in less than 24 hours why America and the rest of the globe’s major powers continue to be postcolonial in name only. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Colonizers Have Turned Their Eyes to Greenland," 16 Aug. 2019 Scar, weighed down by lifelike musculature, can no longer leer. Nora Mcgreevy, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Lion King’ remake offers a muffled roar," 17 July 2019 In part, this is because Crowe’s performance oscillates between leering plutocrat and raving paranoiac, without nailing the fanaticism in between that made Ailes’s vision of America so contagious. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Loudest Voice Stops Short of Revealing Roger Ailes," 27 June 2019 Except for the staff, which is typically comprised of attractive young women (who stopped noticing the leering Slovenians months ago), the clientele is almost exclusively white men. Dan Adams, BostonGlobe.com, "Lessons from Amsterdam: Dutch-style coffeeshops in Massachusetts? No thanks," 10 June 2019 Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Gary Cooper, Robert Mitchum, Liberace, Errol Flynn and Frank Sinatra were among the many stars memorably caught in Confidential’s leering klieg lights. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "‘Confidential Confidential’ Review: All the Sleaze Fit to Print," 25 Oct. 2018 To leer, grope, force, no matter what age, profession, protestation. Michael Arceneaux, Glamour, "If We Want Men to Be a Part of #MeToo, We Have to Stop Gendering the Movement," 27 Aug. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Un conductor apartó la mirada para leer un texto y se estrelló contra ellos y contra otro hombre, empujando a Mitchell al río. Erika Pasantes Y John Maines, El Sentinel, "Tendencia mortal: Textear y manejar. Aumentan accidentes," 6 Feb. 2018 But, before flogging the soon-to-be-dead plot point, the muscle leers and the sound of cracking knuckles echoes off the walls. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Cavitation dilemma resolved in knuckle-cracking model," 5 Apr. 2018 All other sized fans sneer, jeer and leer at him simultaneously. Scott Harrison, latimes.com, "From the Archives: Jungle Boy," 3 Apr. 2018 Para leer esta historia en español, haga clic aquí. Jacqueline Charles, miamiherald, "Chile is used to welcoming migrants. But Haitians don’t always get a warm reception | Miami Herald," 1 Mar. 2018 For someone who spoke in a language so uniquely his and Donald’s, their particular mechanized hum of a lyrical leer remains impenetrable. Kelly Dwyer, Billboard, "No Static at All: The Great Walter Becker and One Final Sublimely Ruined Dinner Party," 3 Sep. 2017

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

9 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for leer

The first known use of leer was in 1530

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with leer

Spanish Central: Translation of leer

Nglish: Translation of leer for Spanish Speakers

Comments on leer

What made you want to look up leer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealed or difficult to comprehend

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