sheer 1 of 2



2 of 2


as in to deviate
to change one's course or direction the cruise ship sheered to the northwest, putting it safely out of the path of the hurricane

Synonyms & Similar Words


Synonym Chooser

How is the word sheer different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of sheer are abrupt, precipitous, and steep. While all these words mean "having an incline approaching the perpendicular," sheer suggests an unbroken perpendicular expanse.

sheer cliffs that daunted the climbers

When would abrupt be a good substitute for sheer?

Although the words abrupt and sheer have much in common, abrupt implies a sharper pitch and a sudden break in the level.

a beach with an abrupt drop-off

When is precipitous a more appropriate choice than sheer?

The meanings of precipitous and sheer largely overlap; however, precipitous applies to an incline approaching the vertical.

the river winds through a precipitous gorge

When is it sensible to use steep instead of sheer?

While in some cases nearly identical to sheer, steep implies such sharpness of pitch that ascent or descent is very difficult.

a steep hill
a steep dive

Thesaurus Entries Near sheer

Cite this Entry

“Sheer.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on sheer

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