AskDefine | Define sheer

Dictionary Definition

sheer adj
1 complete and without restriction or qualification; sometimes used informally as intensifiers; "absolute freedom"; "an absolute dimwit"; "a downright lie"; "out-and-out mayhem"; "an out-and-out lie"; "a rank outsider"; "many right-down vices"; "got the job through sheer persistence"; "sheer stupidity" [syn: absolute, downright, out-and-out(a), rank(a), right-down, sheer(a)]
2 not mixed with extraneous elements; "plain water"; "sheer wine"; "not an unmixed blessing" [syn: plain, unmingled, unmixed]
3 very steep; having a prominent and almost vertical front; "a bluff headland"; "where the bold chalk cliffs of England rise"; "a sheer descent of rock" [syn: bluff, bold]
4 so thin as to transmit light; "a hat with a diaphanous veil"; "filmy wings of a moth"; "gauzy clouds of dandelion down"; "gossamer cobwebs"; "sheer silk stockings"; "transparent chiffon"; "vaporous silks" [syn: diaphanous, filmy, gauzy, gossamer, see-through, transparent, vaporous, cobwebby] adv
1 straight up or down without a break [syn: perpendicularly]
2 directly; "he fell sheer into the water"


1 turn sharply; change direction abruptly; "The car cut to the left at the intersection"; "The motorbike veered to the right" [syn: swerve, curve, trend, veer, slue, slew, cut]
2 cause to sheer; "She sheered her car around the obstacle"

User Contributed Dictionary



  • italbrac RP /ˈʃɪə/
  • italbrac US /ʃɪr/
  • Rhymes with: -ɪə(r)



  1. In the context of "textiles": Very thin or transparent.
    Her light, sheer dress caught everyone's attention.
  2. Pure; unmixed; being only what it seems to be.
    I think it is sheer genius to invent such a thing.
    This poem is sheer nonsense.
  3. Straight up and down; vertical; perpendicular.
    It was a sheer drop of 180 feet.


very thin or transparent
pure; unmixed
straight up and down; vertical; perpendicular


  1. clean; quite; at once.


  1. The curve of the main deck or gunwale from bow to stern.
  2. An abrupt swerve from the course of a ship.


  1. To swerve from a course.
  2. To shear. (rare/archaic?)


Extensive Definition

Sheer may refer to:
sheer in German: Sheer

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

aberrancy, aberration, about ship, abrupt, absolute, absolutely, airy, all-embracing, all-encompassing, all-out, all-pervading, angle, angle off, aplomb, arduous, arrant, at right angles, avert, back and fill, bare, bear away, bear off, bear to starboard, beat, beat about, bend, bent, bias, blasted, blessed, bluff, bold, born, box off, branch off, branching off, break, breakneck, bring about, bring round, broad-based, cant, cant round, cast, cast about, change course, change the bearing, change the heading, chiffon, circuitousness, clarified, clean, clear, clear as crystal, come about, complete, comprehensive, confounded, congenital, consummate, corner, crook, crystal, crystal-clear, crystalline, curve, declination, deep-dyed, deflect, depart from, departure, detour, deviance, deviancy, deviate, deviation, deviousness, diaphane, diaphanous, digress, digression, dip, discursion, distilled, divagate, divagation, divaricate, divarication, diverge, divergence, diversion, divert, dogleg, double, double a point, downright, drift, drifting, dyed-in-the-wool, egregious, errantry, excursion, excursus, exhaustive, exorbitation, fetch about, filmy, flimsy, gauzy, go about, gossamer, gossamery, gross, gybe, hairpin, headlong, heave round, heel, indirection, infernal, intensive, irretrievably, irrevocably, jibe, jibe all standing, light-pervious, limpid, lucid, lurch, mere, miss stays, naked, neat, nonopaque, oblique, obliquity, omnibus, omnipresent, orthodiagonal, orthogonal, out-and-out, outright, peekaboo, pellucid, pererration, perfect, perfectly, perpendicular, perpendicularly, pervasive, pivot, plain, plumb, plunging, ply, precipitate, precipitous, pure, purified, put about, put back, quite, radical, rambling, rank, rapid, rectified, regular, revealing, right, right-angle, right-angled, right-angular, round a point, see-through, sharp, sheerly, shift, shifting, shifting course, shifting path, sideling, simple, skew, slant, slew, slue, square, stark, steep, stickle, straight, straight-up, straight-up-and-down, straying, sway, sweep, sweeping, swerve, swerving, swing round, swing the stern, swinging, tack, thin, thorough, thoroughgoing, through-and-through, throw about, total, translucent, transparent, transpicuous, trend, turn, turn aside, turn back, turning, twist, ubiquitous, unadorned, unadulterated, unalloyed, unblended, unclouded, uncombined, uncompounded, unconditional, uncorrupted, undiluted, unenhanced, unfortified, universal, unleavened, unmingled, unmitigated, unmixed, unqualified, unrelievedly, unreserved, unrestricted, unsophisticated, untinged, up and down, up-and-down, utter, variation, vary, veer, veritable, vertical, volte-face, wandering, warp, wear, wear ship, wheel, whip, whirl, wholesale, wind, yaw, zigzag
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