\ ˈsnir How to pronounce sneer (audio) \
sneered; sneering; sneers

Definition of sneer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

: to utter with a sneer



Definition of sneer (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of sneering also : a sneering expression or remark

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Other Words from sneer


sneerer noun

Synonyms for sneer

Synonyms: Verb

laugh, smile, snicker, snigger

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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


“You obviously don't know what you're talking about,” she sneered. in high school the in crowd would invariably sneer every time they passed the hapless nerds


She looked at me with a sneer of disgust. “They're paranoid,” he said with a sneer. The novel elicited sneers from the critics.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Others will simply sneer and hurl insults at the crowd. Nell Haynes, The Conversation, "How indigenous women revolutionized Bolivian wrestling," 5 July 2019 Outside the cities, people feel as if they are sneered at by greedy, self-serving urban sophisticates. The Economist, "The global crisis in conservatism," 4 July 2019 Conversely, Parker embraced the rituals that Johnson sneered at, as if he were programmed to please. Elena Nicolaou,, "Luke Parker Is The New Chad Johnson — But Even Worse," 20 June 2019 The malice with which Queen Marguerite spits out her lines, the throb of anguish in Queen Marie’s voice and the Doctor’s affected sneer all start to feel stale after a while. Margaret Gray,, "Review: At City Garage in Santa Monica, a king who won't accept the ultimate exit," 19 June 2019 Urbanites defined themselves as forward-looking sophisticates who sneered at yokels in backwaters; cosmopolitanism faced off against parochialism. Sarah Churchwell, The New York Review of Books, "America’s Original Identity Politics," 7 Feb. 2019 In an unbuttoned age, people tend to sneer at ceremony, but don’t knock it. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Donald Trump’s Royal Treatment," 4 June 2019 Why doesn’t Mr Assad send his son, Hafez, to the front, sneers a student who has failed his university exams to prolong his studies and avoid conscription. The Economist, "How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria," 28 June 2018 This time, Moscow’s intellectual currency isn’t Marxism, but an authoritarian style of leadership that sneers at the pieties of liberal democracy. Marcus Walker, WSJ, "In Orban’s Hungary, a Glimpse of Europe’s Demise," 9 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Her sister, Jack (Madison Davenport), adorned with a sneer and a nose ring, exhibits her teen alienation by thrashing on a guitar, in the way of the Pixies and Sonic Youth, bands favored by the girls’ late mother. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "The Best Episode of the New “Black Mirror” Is a Princess Tale Starring Miley Cyrus," 5 June 2019 The plot vaporizes for long stretches, but the take-home meaning usually remains as blatant as Aubrey Plaza’s sneer. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Does Legion Have a Soul?," 4 Apr. 2018 These instructions, as published by the Pennsylvanian, were illustrated with a photo of a latter-day Trump at campaign rally — pointing his finger in the air and twisting his face into a ridiculous sneer. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "It’s the 50th anniversary of the day Trump left college and (briefly) faced the draft," 20 May 2018 Reportedly the sinister force behind the heist that drives the story, Dryden Vos is armed with both a menacing sneer and what appears to be brass knuckles with a lightsaber edge. NBC News, "Five takeaways from New 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Trailer," 9 Apr. 2018 There’s always something to be said for filtering the timeless charm of ‘60s girl-group music through the snarl and sneer of classic punk. Ed Masley, azcentral, "Summer concerts in Phoenix: Eagles, Post Malone, Logic, Panic! at the Disco, J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa," 15 June 2018 But the sneer withers away; the chuckle turns to dust in the throat. Kevin Baker, The New Republic, "Why America needs truth and reconciliation after Trump," 17 May 2018 Springer delivers insightful lyrics that are both witty and neurotic, with a hint of a sneer that nicely counteracts her warm earnest demeanor. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Chicago trio Retirement Party blend emo and pop-punk to score their early adulthood," 7 June 2018 Eric Schneller's mouth is curved into a pronounced sneer, with his nose scrunched up and rage in his eyes. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "An artist paints people's selfie reactions to Trump. Now they see each other differently.," 7 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sneer.' 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 sneer


1680, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1707, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sneer


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

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Learn More about sneer

Dictionary Entries near sneer


sneck up






Statistics for sneer

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sneer

The first known use of sneer was in 1680

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More Definitions for sneer



English Language Learners Definition of sneer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to smile or laugh at someone or something with an expression on your face that shows dislike and a lack of respect
: to express dislike and a lack of respect for someone or something in a very open way



English Language Learners Definition of sneer (Entry 2 of 2)

: an expression on a person's face that is like a smile but that shows dislike and a lack of respect for someone or something also : a statement, criticism, etc., that shows dislike and a lack of respect


\ ˈsnir How to pronounce sneer (audio) \
sneered; sneering

Kids Definition of sneer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to smile or laugh while making a face that shows disrespect
2 : to speak or write in a disrespectful way She was … careful not to seem to sneer at the rest of the islanders for their lack of education.— Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved



Kids Definition of sneer (Entry 2 of 2)

: a disrespectful expression or remark

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More from Merriam-Webster on sneer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sneer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sneer

Spanish Central: Translation of sneer

Nglish: Translation of sneer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sneer for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sneer

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characterized by aphorism

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