1 of 2


sneered; sneering; sneers

intransitive verb

: to smile or laugh with facial contortions that express scorn or contempt
: to speak or write in a scornfully jeering manner

transitive verb

: to utter with a sneer
sneerer noun


2 of 2


: the act of sneering
also : a sneering expression or remark
Choose the Right Synonym for sneer

scoff, jeer, gibe, fleer, sneer, flout mean to show one's contempt in derision or mockery.

scoff stresses insolence, disrespect, or incredulity as motivating the derision.

scoffed at their concerns

jeer suggests a coarser more undiscriminating derision.

the crowd jeered at the prisoners

gibe implies taunting either good-naturedly or in sarcastic derision.

hooted and gibed at the umpire

fleer suggests grinning or grimacing derisively.

the saucy jackanapes fleered at my credulity

sneer stresses insulting by contemptuous facial expression, phrasing, or tone of voice.

sneered at anything romantic

flout stresses contempt shown by refusal to heed.

flouted the conventions of polite society

Examples of sneer in a Sentence

Verb “You obviously don't know what you're talking about,” she sneered. they brushed off his sneer and went about their business Noun She looked at me with a sneer of disgust. “They're paranoid,” he said with a sneer. The novel elicited sneers from the critics.
Recent Examples on the Web
Spotify users have been known to claim their yearly roundup is superior to Apple’s, posting memes and sneering comments about Apple’s music streaming service. Antonio Pequeño Iv, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 Once the Duke of Wellington shows up at Waterloo, the fact that he’s played with such supercilious glee by the perpetually sneering Rupert Everett comes as a welcome relief. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 The cast is acted and animated with excellence, particularly Mara Junot as Sindel, reformed as a gentle sovereign, and Alan Lee, sneering as Shang Tsung. Gene Park, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2023 The Australian Taxpayers Alliance—which usually sticks to, unsurprisingly, issues around taxes—got a young intern to go on Sky News and sneer about how climate strikers should stay in school. Amy Westervelt, The New Republic, 12 Sep. 2023 Books about crypto tend to fall into one of two categories: rah-rah accounts of how blockchain can better humanity or sneering takedowns that pronounce the whole thing a scam. Byjeff John Roberts, Fortune Crypto, 12 Sep. 2023 Within Rome’s elite the basic values of existence are not sneered at. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 7 Sep. 2023 But the idea of just sneering at people is dangerous. Kate Knibbs, WIRED, 7 Sep. 2023 The Bell Jar, with its sneering descriptions of ski trips to the Adirondacks and boys who ran cross-country, offered me permission to write a certain way: intensely, cuttingly, in English. Rafaela Bassili, The Atlantic, 5 Sep. 2023
Disco, a mirror-ball fantasia born of Black, Latin, and L.G.B.T.Q. night life, mixed genres in search of the most glamorous, danceable grooves; New Wave kept punk’s D.I.Y. spirit and its reliance on irony but divested it of its sneer. Michelle Orange, The New Yorker, 9 Oct. 2023 The killer could be Will, played by Timberlake with a dyspeptic sneer of anxiety that’s just off-kilter enough to be fascinating. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 26 Sep. 2023 The new styling is essentially S550 with less fillip and more sneer. Sam Smith, Car and Driver, 25 Aug. 2023 But four decades ago, a teen movie traded in sneers for sensitivity. Soraya Roberts, The Atlantic, 22 June 2023 There’s a playful smirk behind every sneer. Spin Staff, SPIN, 30 Jan. 2023 The tendency for players to challenge defenders one-on-one or take high-risk shots used to be called hero ball, and it was said with a sneer. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, 27 Mar. 2023 But their reassurances tend to fall on deaf ears, as Hannah stays up late each night slaving over dresses her mean-spirited boss will likely dismiss with a sneer. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 11 Mar. 2023 Girl boss is a sneer. Annie Lord, Vogue, 20 Feb. 2023 See More

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

Word History



probably akin to Middle High German snerren to chatter, gossip — more at snore

First Known Use


1680, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1707, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sneer was in 1680

Dictionary Entries Near sneer

Cite this Entry

“Sneer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to smile or laugh with expressions of scorn
: to speak or write in a scorning manner
sneerer noun


2 of 2 noun
: a sneering expression or remark

More from Merriam-Webster on sneer

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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