from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To smirk or laugh in contempt or derision.
  • n. A taunting, scoffing, or derisive look or gibe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. one who flees
  • v. To make a wry face in contempt, or to grin in scorn; to deride; to sneer; to mock; to gibe.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To make a wry face in contempt, or to grin in scorn; to deride; to sneer; to mock; to gibe.
  • To grin with an air of civility; to leer.
  • n. One who flees.
  • n. A word or look of derision or mockery.
  • n. A grin of civility; a leer.
  • transitive v. To mock; to flout at.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To grin in mockery; make a wry face in contempt; hence, to gibe; sneer: as, to fleer and flout.
  • To grin with an air of civility; leer.
  • To mock; jeer at.
  • n. Derision or mockery, expressed by words or looks.
  • n. A grin of civility; a leer.
  • n. One who flees.
  • n. A dialectal (Scotch) variant of floor.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who flees from an uncongenial situation
  • n. contempt expressed by mockery in looks or words
  • v. to smirk contemptuously


Middle English flerien, of Scandinavian origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Probably from a Scandinavian source, compare Norwegian bokmål flire ("to giggle"), Jutish Danish flire. (Wiktionary)
From flee +‎ -er (Wiktionary)


  • The communities both in North and South Carolina, law enforcement, have come together in this case, and right now, we are being aided by the United States Marine Corps, helicopters from Cherry Point, and also the North Carolina highway patrol, with special heat-seeking devices known as fleer units, and we have ground teams ready that are and on the ground ready to assist in the location, hopefully and prayerfully of Miss Donovan.

    CNN Transcript Nov 20, 2002

  • There is another word, "fleer," which sounds like a portmanteau of flinch and sneer but isn't.

    Hartford Courant blogs

  • This affords my offspring frequent opportunities to fleer and jape at me as I cower in my seat at the movie theater, or press myself back against the couch while watching a DVD at home.

    AKMA’s Random Thoughts

  • Sims had a derisive smile, a fleer, and it grew meaner by the second.


  • Caravanserai and the workmen of the dyery, he was certified of the vileness of Abu Kir; so he upbraided him with flout and fleer and said to his guards, “Take him and parade him about the city and the market-streets; then set him in a sack and cast him into the sea.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Democritus; one jester to flout at another, one fool to fleer at another: a great stentorian Democritus, as big as that Rhodian

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Betty, with a very saucy fleer, said to Shorey, There would be a trial of skill about that she fancied.

    Clarissa Harlowe

  • Maria, a fleer at mere ponderosity, skipped and whisked from left to right with fay-like airiness of foot until a thrill of delight went through the camp.

    Tropic Days

  • Thank you! barry bonds rookie card fleer hank aaron sportcards topps autograph cards kurt angle larry fritsch bboc private stock samlekort venom benchwarmer troy hudson screwdown pricing hot prospects wayne gretzky baseball benchwarmer giochi online gta copy homemakers - 2006-08-19 07: 51: 34

    PLEASE give me a break... just a little one

  • The hazy light that fell through the floor-toceiling windows onto the shimmering blue stone fleer offered little cheer and less warmth.

    The Shadow Sorceress


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  • The pointers came to the wire mesh of the kennel, wriggling like happy snakes and sneezing with enthusiasm, and even the sickly one came out of his house and fleered at us.
    John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley in Search of America

    December 26, 2015

  • Of course, someone could come along and start talking about Obama's or Boehner's fleering at some question, and then when asked about the word, say: it's when you flinch and sneer at the same time. And then if people start using it a lot to mean simultaneous flinching and sneering, well there you have your portmanteau. But it won't be the same old Scandinavian-born fleer that Shakespeare knew.

    June 9, 2015

  • A derisive smile: a fleer.
    "fleer" sounds like a portmanteau of flinch and sneer but isn't.
    Why can't it be a portmanteau of flinch and sneer? Who says it can't be?

    June 9, 2015

  • This is a word that needs reviving.

    June 8, 2015

  • From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Act I Scene III, Casca speaking:

    "You speak to Casca, and to such a man

    That is no fleering telltale".

    July 3, 2010

  • I added it for the meaning "to grin or laugh coarsely or mockingly, to mock or deride," not the prosaic "flee-er."

    December 6, 2007