sheer

verb
\ˈshir \
sheered; sheering; sheers

Definition of sheer 

(Entry 1 of 6)

intransitive verb

: to deviate from a course : swerve

transitive verb

: to cause to sheer

sheer

noun (1)

Definition of sheer (Entry 2 of 6)

1 : a turn, deviation, or change in a course (as of a ship)

2 : the position of a ship riding to a single anchor and heading toward it

sheer

adjective

Definition of sheer (Entry 3 of 6)

1 obsolete : bright, shining

2 : of very thin or transparent texture : diaphanous

3a : unqualified, utter sheer folly sheer ignorance

b : being free from an adulterant : pure, unmixed

c : viewed or acting in dissociation from all else in terms of sheer numbers

4 : marked by great and continuous steepness

sheer

adverb

Definition of sheer (Entry 4 of 6)

1 : in a complete manner : altogether

2 : straight up or down without a break : perpendicularly

sheer

noun (2)

Definition of sheer (Entry 5 of 6)

: a sheer fabric also : an article of such a fabric

sheer

noun (3)

Definition of sheer (Entry 6 of 6)

: the fore-and-aft curvature from bow to stern of a ship's deck as shown in side elevation

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sheer

Adjective

sheerly adverb
sheerness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for sheer

Synonyms: Verb

break, cut, swerve, veer, yaw, zag, zig

Synonyms: Adjective

abrupt, bold, precipitous, steep

Antonyms: Verb

straighten

Antonyms: Adjective

easy

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for sheer

Adjective

steep, abrupt, precipitous, sheer mean having an incline approaching the perpendicular. steep implies such sharpness of pitch that ascent or descent is very difficult. a steep hill a steep dive abrupt implies a sharper pitch and a sudden break in the level. a beach with an abrupt drop-off precipitous applies to an incline approaching the vertical. the river winds through a precipitous gorge sheer suggests an unbroken perpendicular expanse. sheer cliffs that daunted the climbers

Examples of sheer in a Sentence

Verb

the cruise ship sheered to the northwest, putting it safely out of the path of the hurricane the car sheered to avoid hitting the dog

Adjective

a sheer drop to the sea we had to get window shades because passersby could see right through our sheer curtains

Adverb

mountains rising sheer from the plains
See More

First Known Use of sheer

Verb

1539, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun (1)

1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

circa 1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

circa 1920, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1691, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sheer

Verb

perhaps alteration of shear entry 1

Adjective

Middle English schere freed from guilt, probably alteration of skere, from Old Norse skærr pure; akin to Old English scīnan to shine

Noun (3)

perhaps alteration of shear entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sheer

Statistics for sheer

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sheer

The first known use of sheer was in 1539

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sheer

sheer

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sheer

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to turn suddenly

sheer

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of sheer (Entry 2 of 3)

—used to emphasize the large amount, size, or degree of something

: complete and total

: very steep : almost straight up and down

sheer

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of sheer (Entry 3 of 3)

: straight up or down

sheer

adjective
\ˈshir \
sheerer; sheerest

Kids Definition of sheer

1 : very thin or transparent sheer curtains

2 : complete and total : absolute sheer nonsense

3 : taken or acting apart from everything else He won through sheer determination.

4 : very steep a sheer cliff

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on sheer

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

WORD OF THE DAY

one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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