Thesaurus

sheer

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of sheer

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 very thin and easy to see through
  • we had to get window shades because passersby could see right through our sheer curtains

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3 having an incline approaching the perpendicular
  • the sheer slopes of the ravine

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Antonyms for sheer

sheer

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of sheer (Entry 2 of 2)

1 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 for sheer

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2 to depart abruptly from a straight line or course
  • the car sheered to avoid hitting the dog

Synonyms for sheer

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Frequently Asked Questions About sheer

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

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Time Traveler for sheer

Time Traveler

The first known use of sheer was in 1539

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Cite this Entry

“Sheer.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/sheer. Accessed 23 Sep. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on sheer

Dictionary: Definition of sheer

Nglish: Translation of sheer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sheer for Arabic Speakers

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