Definition of sheer adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ʃɪə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʃɪr//
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  1. 1[only before noun] used to emphasize the size, degree or amount of something The area is under threat from the sheer number of tourists using it. We were impressed by the sheer size of the cathedral.
  2. 2[only before noun] complete and not mixed with anything else synonym utter The concert was sheer delight. sheer luck/chance/coincidence/joy/bliss/determination I only agreed out of sheer desperation. sheer terror/panic/exhaustion/hell More Like This Adjectives that only come before a noun all-round, antenatal, aspiring, chief, dedicated, eventual, express, high-flying, live, lone, mere, mitigating, rogue, sheer, standout, ulterior, utterSee worksheet.
  3. 3very steep sheer cliffs/slopes Outside there was a sheer drop down to the sea below.
  4. 4(of cloth, etc.) thin, light and almost transparent sheer nylon
  5. Word Originadjective Middle English (in the sense ‘exempt, cleared’): probably an alteration of dialect shire ‘pure, clear’, from the Germanic base of the verb shine. In the mid 16th cent. the word was used to describe clear, pure water, and also in sense (4).
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: sheer

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