Try Our Apps


What is the origin of "December"?


[sneer] /snɪər/
verb (used without object)
to smile, laugh, or contort the face in a manner that shows scorn or contempt:
They sneered at his pretensions.
to speak or write in a manner expressive of derision or scorn.
verb (used with object)
to utter or say in a sneering manner.
a look or expression of derision, scorn, or contempt.
a derisive or scornful utterance, especially one more or less covert or insinuative.
an act of sneering.
Origin of sneer
1545-55; orig., to snort; compare Frisian (N dial.) sneere scornful remark, snarl1
Related forms
sneerer, noun
sneerful, adjective
sneeringly, adverb
sneerless, adjective
subsneer, noun
unsneering, adjective
unsneeringly, adverb
2. gibe. See scoff1 . 5. scoff, gibe, jeer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for sneer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But he had noted the steadiness of the latter's eyes and the sneer faded.

    Square Deal Sanderson Charles Alden Seltzer
  • She had completed the verse with the hint of a sneer in her tones.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • "In the first place, the sight of you is one of the chief things," said Reginald, with a sneer.

    The Living Link James De Mille
  • He made an effort to shake off the feeling, and spoke with a sneer.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • The sneer instantly faded from Dumphy's face, and a look of genuine surprise took its place.

    Gabriel Conroy Bert Harte
British Dictionary definitions for sneer


a facial expression of scorn or contempt, typically with the upper lip curled
a scornful or contemptuous remark or utterance
(intransitive) to assume a facial expression of scorn or contempt
to say or utter (something) in a scornful or contemptuous manner
Derived Forms
sneerer, noun
sneerful, adjective
sneering, adjective, noun
sneeringly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from Low Dutch; compare North Frisian sneere contempt
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for sneer

1550s, "to snort" (of horses), perhaps from North Frisian sneere "to scorn," related to Old English fnæran "to snort, gnash one's teeth," of imitative origin (cf. Danish snærre "to grin like a dog," Middle Dutch, Middle High German snarren "to rattle"). Meaning "to smile contemptuously" is from 1670s; sense of "to curl the upper lip in scorn" is attested from 1775. Related: Sneered; sneering. Sneer word is in E. Digby Baltzell (1987).


1707, from sneer (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for sneer

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for sneer