\ 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


She complained that some disgusting man was leering at her. He gave her a leering look.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Ohio State is investigating Meyer while also facing three federal lawsuits about its response to allegations of groping, leering and other misconduct by a deceased athletic department doctor who treated wrestlers and other students for two decades. Fox News, "Urban Meyer investigation adds new scandal to Ohio State athletics," 2 Aug. 2018 The filmmakers seem to have other questions about roundness, flatness and perspective in mind, to judge by the chief visual preoccupations of this indiscreetly leering anime. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Time-travel romance, but no magic, in the Japanese anime 'Fireworks'," 2 July 2018 Severed heads leered from stakes at people waiting in line to get through. Jeremy Roebuck, Philly.com, "'The only good Krahn man is a dead Krahn man': How culpable is Delco resident for ethnic atrocities in Liberia?," 22 June 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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Dictionary Entries near leer








Statistics for leer

Last Updated

14 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for leer

The first known use of leer was in 1530

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More Definitions for leer



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

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

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recurring in steady succession

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