WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
sheer1 /ʃɪr/USA pronunciation   adj.,  -er, -est, adv., n. 
  1. so thin as to be transparent:sheer stockings.
  2. unmixed with anything else:[before a noun]sheer luck; sheer nonsense.
  3. extending down or up very steeply:a sheer descent.

  1. completely;
    quite:He drove sheer off the road.
  2. vertically;
    down or up very steeply:cliffs rising sheer from the sea.

n. [countable]
  1. Textilesa thin, nearly transparent fabric or garment.
sheer•ness, n. [uncountable]

sheer2 /ʃɪr/USA pronunciation   v. 
  1. to move away from a course;
    deviate: [no object]The jet fighters sheered to the south.[+ object]The pilot sheered the jet fighter to the south.

n. [countable]
  1. Nautical, Naval Termsan act of moving away from or changing a direction or course.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
sheer1  (shēr),USA pronunciation adj.,  -er, -est, adv., n. 
  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 Termsbright;

  1. clear;
    quite:ran sheer into the thick of battle.
  2. perpendicularly;
    down or up very steeply.

  1. Textilesa thin, diaphanous material, as chiffon or voile.
sheerly, adv. 
sheerness, n. 
  • Old Norse skǣrr; change of sk- s(c)h- perh. by influence of the related Old English scīr (English dialect, dialectal shire clear, pure, thin); cognate with German schier, Old Norse skīr, Gothic skeirs clear; see shine
  • 1175–1225; Middle English scere, shere, schere free, clear, bright, thin; probably
    • 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged mere, simple, pure, unadulterated.
    • 3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged absolute, downright.
    • 4.See corresponding entry in Unabridged abrupt, precipitous.
    • 6.See corresponding entry in Unabridged totally, entirely.
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged opaque.

sheer2  (shēr),USA pronunciation v.i. 
  1. to deviate from a course, as a ship;

  1. to cause to sheer.
  2. Nautical, Naval Terms[Shipbuilding.]to give sheer to (a hull).

  1. Nautical, Naval Termsa deviation or divergence, as of a ship from its course;
  2. Nautical, Naval Terms[Shipbuilding.]the fore-and-aft upward curve of the hull of a vessel at the main deck or bulwarks.
  3. Nautical, Naval Termsthe position in which a ship at anchor is placed to keep it clear of the anchor.
  • 1620–30; special use of sheer1; compare sense development of clear

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

sheer /ʃɪə/ adj
  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
  1. steeply or perpendicularly
  2. completely or absolutely
Etymology: Old English scīr; related to Old Norse skīrr bright, Gothic skeirs clear, Middle High German schīr

ˈsheerly adv ˈsheerness n
sheer /ʃɪə/ vb
followed 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
  1. the position of a vessel relative to its mooring
Etymology: 17th Century: perhaps variant of shear

'sheer' also found in these entries:

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