Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

sheer 1

intr. & tr.v. sheered, sheer·ing, sheers
To swerve or cause to swerve from a course.
1. A swerving or deviating course.
a. The upward curve or amount of upward curve of the longitudinal lines of a ship's hull as viewed from the side.
b. The position in which a ship at anchor is maintained in order to keep it clear of the anchor.

[Probably partly from Low German scheren, to move to and fro (said of boats), and partly from Dutch scheren, to withdraw; see sker- in Indo-European roots.]

sheer 2

adj. sheer·er, sheer·est
1. Thin, fine, and translucent: sheer curtains; sheer chiffon. See Synonyms at airy.
a. Completely such, without qualification or exception: sheer stupidity; sheer happiness.
b. Free from admixture or adulterants; unmixed: sheer alcohol.
c. Considered or operating apart from anything else: got the job through sheer persistence.
3. Almost perpendicular; steep: sheer rock cliffs. See Synonyms at steep1.
1. Almost perpendicularly.
2. Completely; altogether.
One that is sheer, such as a curtain.

[Obsolete shere, thin, clear, partly from Middle English shir, bright, clear (from Old English scīr) and partly from Middle English skir, bright, clean (from Old Norse skærr).]

sheer′ly adv.
sheer′ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in classic literature ?
The pit dropped sheerly from my feet, but a little way along the rubbish afforded a prac- ticable slope to the summit of the ruins.
Nay, you MUST not go--it is impossible, it is sheerly, it is utterly, impossible.
But so sheerly non- alcoholic was I that it never entered my mind that a drink might be good for me.
It was sheerly automatic, and his visioning was an unfailing accompaniment to the living present.
Withal, she was sheerly feminine, tender and soft and clinging, with the smouldering passion of the mate and the motherliness of the woman.
That most exact and convincing of all sciences, mathematics, is sheerly metaphysical.
If I've had any say, I'll definitely include Mithali sheerly for her batting.
With sweet vocals soaring over shimmering strings, this dauntingly good quartet weaves together folk roots and classical influences to realise music that is as imaginative as it is sheerly beautiful.
Rosshan Andrrews' period film starring Nivin Pauly works sheerly for its grand scale and the efforts put in by the crew.
Putting the PM House to some other usage and himself living in another small house will not something to be appreciated despite all his good intentions because the huge public money will be sheerly wasted in no time and more resources will be required for establishing an austerity marked PM House on a small scale.
To the contrary, it was initially defined sheerly in terms of its autonomy: the relevant meaning of universitas as the universitas magistrorum et scholarum was the coming together of all teachers and students in an independent guildformation (2).