\ 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

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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

Verb “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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But Alonso rallied with two homers in the final 15 seconds to hit 14 as the Cleveland crowd sneered. Tom Withers, Houston Chronicle, "Money Ball: Mets' Alonso wins HR Derby, $1M, tops Vlad Jr," 8 July 2019 Many people laughed and sneered when the Giants (5-11 in 2018) used their first-round pick (No. 6) to select quarterback Daniel Jones in the 2019 NFL draft., "Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants in NFL preseason: Time, score, TV channel, how to watch live stream online," 16 Aug. 2019 How many times would Ed, and Nathan, the ex-husband of Madeline and current husband to Bonnie, sneer at each other on their running path, like yipping puppies? Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "The Disappointing, Emmy-Baiting Finale of “Big Little Lies” Season 2," 22 July 2019 The microwave explanation persisted for a while, says Lorimer, as skeptics sneered at the notion of finding a burst that was observed only once. Katia Moskvitch, WIRED, "An Alien-Hunting Tech Mogul May Help Solve a Space Mystery," 21 July 2019 Yet there’s another chunk of Knicks fans, who like James Dolan perhaps, will opt to sneer at Porzingis and decry his escape to Dallas, hurling boos at the faux-savior of the franchise. Michael Shapiro,, "NBA Schedule Release: Interesting Storylines That Will Shape the 2019-20 Season," 13 Aug. 2019 Perhaps the American Dream, once yearned for by new immigrants and settled Americans alike, is not even possible these days – or can be invoked only with sneering irony. The Economist, "How donuts fuelled the American Dream," 26 July 2019 Nobody should sneer at 60 percent of the vote, but Massachusetts is a distinctly bluer-than-average state, and most other Democratic senators outperformed Clinton that year. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Elizabeth Warren proved she’s ready for the big show," 27 June 2019 Others will simply sneer and hurl insults at the crowd. Nell Haynes, The Conversation, "How indigenous women revolutionized Bolivian wrestling," 5 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The accident left him with a deep gouge curving from the middle of his chin up through the edge of his lips, twisting his mouth into a slight but permanent sneer. Los Angeles Times, "They lived on the porous border between haves and have-nots. They died in a double murder-suicide," 10 Oct. 2019 As a producer, he’s worn out his tactics, from the crinkly soul samples, to the Auto-Tuned sneers, to the renta-choirs who always sound twenty-times more prepared to do their job than West ever does. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "Kanye West found God. Did he lose himself along the way?," 28 Oct. 2019 In Celine, we are given a headstrong, yet artfully curious heroine who both embraces her femininity and sneers at the traditions that confine and oppress women. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "EW talks YA: These brilliantly spooky tales arrive just in time for Halloween," 7 Oct. 2019 His sneer was often incisive, and always entertaining. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "James Bagehot: The Great Victorian Journalist," 12 Sep. 2019 The bigger question is why a historian of Gillon’s profile and provenance would undertake a project like this, sure to have a popular audience, and also sure to prompt sneers from the faculty lounge. David Shribman,, "‘The Reluctant Prince’ looks fondly back on the life of JFK Jr.," 17 July 2019 But as Greer and Faith’s relationship takes on a new dimension, the skeptical sneer of the elder meets the righteous judgment of the younger. Lena Dunham, New York Times, "Meg Wolitzer’s New Novel Takes On the Politics of Women’s Mentorship," 29 Mar. 2018 Those laughs and sneers have transformed into hype and praise after Jones wowed fans with a scintillating debut in the Giants’ 31-22 win over the New York Jets in their preseason opener., "Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants in NFL preseason: Time, score, TV channel, how to watch live stream online," 16 Aug. 2019 Looks matter with rock, all the way back to Elvis’s sneer and Chuck Berry’s duck walk. Mark Feeney,, "Guitars, stars, and attitude," 11 July 2019

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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Time Traveler for sneer

Time Traveler

The first known use of sneer was in 1680

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Statistics for sneer

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sneer.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 12 December 2019.

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More Definitions for sneer


How to pronounce sneer (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sneer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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a period of high artistic development

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