Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun Derision or mockery, expressed by words or looks.
  • noun A grin of civility; a leer.
  • noun One who flees.
  • noun A dialectal (Scotch) variant of floor.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun someone who flees from an uncongenial situation
  • noun contempt expressed by mockery in looks or words
  • verb to smirk contemptuously

Etymologies

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

[Middle English flerien, of Scandinavian origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from a Scandinavian source, compare Norwegian bokmål flire ("to giggle"), Jutish Danish flire.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From flee +‎ -er

Examples

  • 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

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

    Underworld

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

    Underworld

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

    Underworld

  • 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

  • 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

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 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

  • 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

  • This is a word that needs reviving.

    June 8, 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

  • 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

  • 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