Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To look with a sidelong glance, indicative especially of sexual desire or sly and malicious intent.
  • noun A desirous, sly, or knowing look.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To look obliquely or askant; now, especially, to look obliquely with significance; cast a look expressive of some passion, as contempt, malignity, etc., especially a sly or amorous look.
  • To give an oblique glance or leer with.
  • To affect by leering, in a way specified.
  • noun The cheek; more generally, the face.
  • noun Complexion; hue; color.
  • noun Flesh; skin.
  • noun The flank or loin.
  • noun A significant side glance; a glance expressive of some passion, as malignity, amorousness, etc.; an arch or affected glance or cast of countenance.
  • Empty; unoccupied.
  • Hence Frivolous; trifling.
  • Left.
  • noun A dialectal variant of lire.
  • noun Tape, braid, binding, etc.
  • noun In glass manufacturing, an annealing-furnace in which glassware is slowly cooled and annealed.

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

  • transitive verb obsolete To learn.
  • noun An oven in which glassware is annealed.
  • transitive verb To entice with a leer, or leers.
  • adjective Empty of contents.
  • adjective Destitute of a rider; and hence, led, not ridden.
  • adjective Wanting sense or seriousness; trifling; trivolous.
  • intransitive verb To look with a leer; to look askance with a suggestive expression, as of hatred, contempt, lust, etc.; to cast a sidelong lustful or malign look.
  • noun obsolete The cheek.
  • noun obsolete Complexion; aspect; appearance.
  • noun A distorted expression of the face, or an indirect glance of the eye, conveying a sinister or immodest suggestion.

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

  • adjective Empty; unoccupied; clear.
  • adjective Destitute; lacking; wanting.
  • adjective Faint from lack of food; hungry.
  • adjective Thin; faint.
  • adjective Having no load or burden; free.
  • verb transitive To teach.
  • verb transitive To learn.
  • noun Alternative form of lehr.
  • verb intransitive To look sideways or obliquely; now especially with sexual desire or malicious intent.
  • verb transitive To entice with a leer or leers.
  • noun A significant side glance; a glance expressive of some passion, as malignity, amorousness, etc.; a sly or lecherous look.
  • noun An arch or affected glance or cast of countenance.
  • noun obsolete The cheek.
  • noun obsolete The face.
  • noun obsolete One's appearance; countenance.
  • noun obsolete Complexion; hue; blee; colour.
  • noun obsolete Flesh; skin.
  • noun The flank or loin.

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

  • verb look suggestively or obliquely; look or gaze with a sly, immodest, or malign expression
  • noun a suggestive or sneering look or grin
  • noun a facial expression of contempt or scorn; the upper lip curls

Etymologies

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

[Probably from obsolete leer, cheek, from Middle English ler, from Old English hlēor; see kleu- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English lere, from Old English ġelǣre, *lǣre ("empty, void, empty-handed"), from Proto-Germanic *lēziz, *lēzijaz (“empty”), from Proto-Indo-European *les- (“to collect, pick”). Cognate with Dutch laar ("a clearing in the woods"), German leer ("empty"). Related to Old English lesan ("to gather, collect"). More at lease.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English leren, from Old English lǣran ("to teach, instruct, guide, enjoin, advise, persuade, urge, preach, hand down"), from Proto-Germanic *laizijanan (“to teach”), from Proto-Indo-European *leis- (“track, footprint, furrow, trace”). Cognate with Dutch leren ("to teach"), German lehren ("to teach"), Swedish lära ("to teach"). Related to Old English lār ("lore, learning, science, art of teaching, preaching, doctrine, study, precept, exhortation, advice, instigation, history, story, cunning "). See lore.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

See lehr

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Exact development uncertain, but apparently from *leer ("to make a face"), from leer ("face"). See below.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English ler, leor ("face, cheek"), from Old English hlēor ("face, cheek, profile"), from Proto-Germanic *hleuzan (“ear, cheek”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱlews- (“temple of the forehead, cheek”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱlewe-, *ḱlew- (“to hear”). Cognate with Scots lire, lere ("face, appearance, complexion, blee"), Dutch lier ("cheek"), Swedish lyra ("pout"), Norwegian lia ("hillside"), Icelandic hlýr ("the face, cheek, countenance"). Related to Old English hlyst ("sense of hearing, listening") and hlysnan ("to listen"). More at list, listen.

Examples

  • Gladys, overhearing, gave us all a grin, or perhaps the word leer describes it better, revealing that she had very few teeth and that the ones which were left were horridly like fangs.

    To Ruin a Queen

  • Gladys, overhearing, gave us all a grin, or perhaps the word leer describes it better, revealing that she had very few teeth and that the ones which were left were horridly like fangs.

    To Ruin a Queen

  • Gladys, overhearing, gave us all a grin, or perhaps the word leer describes it better, revealing that she had very few teeth and that the ones which were left were horridly like fangs.

    To Ruin a Queen

  • Gladys, overhearing, gave us all a grin, or perhaps the word leer describes it better, revealing that she had very few teeth and that the ones which were left were horridly like fangs.

    To Ruin a Queen

  • I wonder now, when I recall his leer, that I did not collar him, and try to shake the breath out of his body.

    David Copperfield

  • Her smile is now more sneer than leer, which is how I know she respects me somewhat.

    Fall On Your Knees

  • Her smile is now more sneer than leer, which is how I know she respects me somewhat.

    Fall On Your Knees

  • The leer was a parody of Pham's self-assured smile.

    A Fire Upon the Deep

  • I wonder now, when I recall his leer, that I did not collar him, and try to shake the breath out of his body.

    David Copperfield

  • I wonder now, when I recall his leer, that I did not collar him, and try to shake the breath out of his body.

    David Copperfield

Comments

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  • Reel in reverse.

    July 22, 2007