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Denotation vs. Connotation

sheer1

[sheer] /ʃɪər/
adjective, sheerer, sheerest.
1.
transparently thin; diaphanous, as some fabrics:
sheer stockings.
2.
unmixed with anything else:
We drilled a hundred feet through sheer rock.
3.
unqualified; utter:
sheer nonsense.
4.
extending down or up very steeply; almost completely vertical:
a sheer descent of rock.
5.
British Obsolete. bright; shining.
adverb
6.
clear; completely; quite:
ran sheer into the thick of battle.
7.
perpendicularly; vertically; down or up very steeply.
noun
8.
a thin, diaphanous material, as chiffon or voile.
Origin of sheer1
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English scere, shere, schere free, clear, bright, thin; probably < Old Norse skǣrr; change of sk- > s(c)h- perhaps by influence of the related Old English scīr (E dial. shire clear, pure, thin); cognate with German schier, Old Norse skīr, Gothic skeirs clear; see shine1
Related forms
sheerly, adverb
sheerness, noun
Can be confused
shear, sheer.
Synonyms
2. mere, simple, pure, unadulterated. 3. absolute, downright. 4. abrupt, precipitous. 6. totally, entirely.
Antonyms
1. opaque.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sheerly
Contemporary Examples
  • That came when he chose to review the restaurant I used to work at sheerly because I called him a douche bag.

  • sheerly by chance, some of those scrofulous churls will have some minor position of power in one institution or another.

    Who Represents? Megan McArdle February 18, 2013
Historical Examples
  • They made one reluctant to hurry one's footsteps, and slow in the return to that sheerly human shelter we call home.

    The High Heart Basil King
  • sheerly suicidal, yes, but he was desperate now, and there seemed no other way.

    Slaves of Mercury Nat Schachner
  • Alwynne, eating her wing of chicken, was merely and sheerly shy.

    Regiment of Women Clemence Dane
  • Thessaly is inspiring, but his influence is sheerly intellectual.

  • Filet lace came then, sheerly, whole yokes of it for crepe de Chine nightgowns and dainty scalloped edges for camisoles.

  • Thor grew interested in the sheerly human aspects of the subject.

  • sheerly below them dropped the narrow, profound gutter of the Llanos de Jaen.

    The Wolf Cub Patrick Casey
  • The weariest and the most wistful faces were sheerly transfigured by it.

    If Winter Comes A.S.M. Hutchinson
British Dictionary definitions for sheerly

sheer1

/ʃɪə/
adjective
1.
perpendicular; very steep: a sheer cliff
2.
(of textiles) so fine as to be transparent
3.
(prenominal) absolute; unmitigated: sheer folly
4.
(obsolete) bright or shining
adverb
5.
steeply or perpendicularly
6.
completely or absolutely
noun
7.
any transparent fabric used for making garments
Derived Forms
sheerly, adverb
sheerness, noun
Word Origin
Old English scīr; related to Old Norse skīrr bright, Gothic skeirs clear, Middle High German schīr

sheer2

/ʃɪə/
verb foll by off or away (from)
1.
to deviate or cause to deviate from a course
2.
(intransitive) to avoid an unpleasant person, thing, topic, etc
noun
3.
the upward sweep of the deck or bulwarks of a vessel
4.
(nautical) the position of a vessel relative to its mooring
Word Origin
C17: perhaps variant of shear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sheerly

sheer

adj.

c.1200, "exempt, free from guilt" (e.g. Sheer Thursday, the Thursday of Holy Week); later schiere "thin, sparse" (c.1400), from Old English scir "bright, clear, gleaming; translucent; pure, unmixed," and influenced by Old Norse cognate scær "bright, clean, pure," both from Proto-Germanic *skeran- (cf. Old Saxon skiri, Old Frisian skire, German schier, Gothic skeirs "clean, pure"), from PIE root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)).

Sense of "absolute, utter" (sheer nonsense) developed 1580s, probably from the notion of "unmixed;" that of "very steep" (a sheer cliff) is first recorded 1800, probably from notion of "continued without halting." Meaning "diaphanous" is from 1560s. As an adverb from c.1600.

v.

1620s, "deviate from course" (of a ship), of obscure origin, perhaps from Dutch scheren "to move aside, withdraw, depart," originally "to separate" (see shear (v.)). Related: Sheered; shearing. As a noun from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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