• WordNet 3.6
    • adj sheer complete and without restriction or qualification; sometimes used informally as intensifiers "absolute freedom","an absolute dimwit","a downright lie","out-and-out mayhem","an out-and-out lie","a rank outsider","many right-down vices","got the job through sheer persistence","sheer stupidity"
    • adj sheer very steep; having a prominent and almost vertical front "a bluff headland","where the bold chalk cliffs of England rise","a sheer descent of rock"
    • adj sheer not mixed with extraneous elements "plain water","sheer wine","not an unmixed blessing"
    • adj sheer so thin as to transmit light "a hat with a diaphanous veil","filmy wings of a moth","gauzy clouds of dandelion down","gossamer cobwebs","sheer silk stockings","transparent chiffon","vaporous silks"
    • adv sheer directly "he fell sheer into the water"
    • adv sheer straight up or down without a break
    • v sheer cause to sheer "She sheered her car around the obstacle"
    • v sheer turn sharply; change direction abruptly "The car cut to the left at the intersection","The motorbike veered to the right"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: When opossums are playing 'possum, they are not "playing." Theyactually pass out from sheer terror.
    • Sheer A turn or change in a course. "Give the canoe a sheer and get nearer to the shore."
    • Sheer Being only what it seems to be; obvious; simple; mere; downright; as, sheer folly; sheer nonsense. "A sheer impossibility.""It is not a sheer advantage to have several strings to one's bow."
    • Sheer Bright; clear; pure; unmixed. "Sheer ale.""Thou sheer , immaculate, and silver fountain."
    • adv Sheer Clean; quite; at once.
    • Sheer Shears See Shear.
    • Sheer Stright up and down; vertical; prpendicular. "A sheer precipice of a thousand feet.""It was at least
      Nine roods of sheer ascent."
    • Sheer (Naut) The longitudinal upward curvature of the deck, gunwale, and lines of a vessel, as when viewed from the side.
    • Sheer (Naut) The position of a vessel riding at single anchor and swinging clear of it.
    • v. i Sheer To decline or deviate from the line of the proper course; to turn aside; to swerve; as, a ship sheers from her course; a horse sheers at a bicycle.
    • v. t Sheer To shear.
    • Sheer Very thin or transparent; -- applied to fabrics; as, sheer muslin.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: When possums are "playing possum" they're not playing they are actually passed out from sheer terror.
    • sheer Pure; clear; bright; shining.
    • sheer Uncombined with anything else; simple; mere; bare; by itself.
    • sheer Absolute; utter; downright: as, sheer nonsense or ignorance; sheer waste; sheer stupidity.
    • sheer Straight up or straight down; perpendicular; precipitous; unobstructed: as, a sheer descent.
    • sheer Very thin and delicate; diaphanous: especially said of cambric or muslin.
    • sheer Quite; right; straight; clean.
    • sheer To make pure; clear; purify.
    • sheer An obsolete spelling of shear.
    • sheer Nautical, to swerve or deviate from a line or course; turn aside or away, as for the purpose of avoiding collision or other danger: as, to sheer off from a rock.
    • n sheer The rise from a horizontal plane of the longitudinal lines of a ship as seen in looking along its side. These lines are more or less curved; when they do not rise noticeably at the bow and stern, as is most common, the ship is said to have a straight sheer or little sheer. See cut under forebody.
    • n sheer The position in which a ship at single anchor is placed to keep her clear of the anchor.
    • n sheer The paint-strake or sheer-strake of a vessel.
    • n sheer A curving course or sweep; a deviation or divergence from a particular course.
    • n sheer A light scaffold, usually with three inclined legs, on which miners stand in drilling to get above the drill-rod.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Diane Sheer holds the record for licking the most stamps in a five minute period. She slobbered on 225 of the little things.
    • adj Sheer shēr pure: unmingled: simple: without a break, perpendicular
    • adv Sheer clear: quite: at once
    • v.i Sheer shēr to deviate from the line of the proper course, as a ship: to turn aside
    • n Sheer the deviation from the straight line, or the longitudinal curve or bend of a ship's deck or sides
    • ***


  • Gregory ''Pappy'' Boyington
    Gregory ''Pappy'' Boyington
    “Flying is hours and hours of boredom sprinkled with a few seconds of sheer terror.”
  • Virginia Woolf
    “Things have dropped from me. I have outlived certain desires; I have lost friends, some by death... others through sheer inability to cross the street.”
  • Oscar Wilde
    “The basis of optimism is sheer terror.”
  • Gunther Grass
    Gunther Grass
    “Information networks straddle the world. Nothing remains concealed. But the sheer volume of information dissolves the information. We are unable to take it all in.”
  • Mahatma Gandhi
    “The history of the world is full of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity.”
  • Thornton Wilder
    “I rose by sheer military ability to the rank of corporal.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. shere, skere, pure, bright, Icel. skrr,; akin to skīrr, AS. scīr, OS. skīri, MHG. schīr, G. schier, Dan. skr, Sw. skär, Goth. skeirs, clear, and E. shine,. √157. See Shine (v. i.)


In literature:

We had hoped that after the hot reception we had given the lugger she would have sheered off, but not a bit of it.
"Will Weatherhelm" by W.H.G. Kingston
About a week after, we were still lying at Sheerness, and I had totally forgotten the innocent-looking Jemima.
"Rattlin the Reefer" by Edward Howard
I can't give a year, or anything like a year, to what, so far as I am concerned, will be sheer idleness.
"The Aztec Treasure-House" by Thomas Allibone Janvier
There was a sheer drop of considerable height between the walls of the houses and the stony road below.
"Impressions of a War Correspondent" by George Lynch
Then, overcome by sheer emotional exhaustion, she threw herself on her bed where she sobbed quietly in the flickering of the candles.
"The Tyranny of Weakness" by Charles Neville Buck
Sheer-Ali was not wholly to be blamed.
"For Name and Fame" by G. A. Henty
It's just the sheer love of straying.
"Wisdom, Wit, and Pathos of Ouida" by Ouida
He could have hugged the crowd for sheer delight.
"Despair's Last Journey" by David Christie Murray
He could have laughed aloud, he could have sung for sheer joy and triumph, to watch this thing.
"Nicanor - Teller of Tales" by C. Bryson Taylor
Man and bull were fighting desperately, one with sheer strength, the other with strength plus brains and skill.
"Oh, You Tex!" by William Macleod Raine

In poetry:

Sheer to hell
Shoots the foul shoals!
There Monker
And Nakir
Torture their souls!
"Abu Midjan" by George MacDonald
I knew a man: in autumn clearness
His even course,—
His heart's fine force
Like autumn sky in soft-hued sheerness.
"Frederik Hegel" by Bjornstjerne Bjornson
On a sheer peak of joy we meet;
Below us hums the abyss;
Death either way allures our feet
If we take one step amiss.
"A Meeting" by Edith Wharton
The soul of man, I tried to show,
Went up beyond our vision.
“You ebber see dat fellow go?”
He asked in sheer derision.
"Peter the Piccaninny" by Henry Kendall
Above the shriek, the crash, the groan
Of the fallen pride of Askelon,
I heard, sheer down the echoing sky,
A voice as of an angel cry,--
"The Wife Of Manoah To Her Husband" by John Greenleaf Whittier
See, I want to surround you with yourself
and the faded expectation lift
from the edges of your eyebrows;
I want, as with inner eyelids sheer,
to close for you all places which appear
by my tender caresses now.
"What Fields Are As Fragrant As Your Hands?" by Rainer Maria Rilke

In news:

Classic, sheer, ready for anything pink.
Ex-Aide: Ron Paul's Foreign Policy is 'Sheer Lunacy '.
Milla Jovovich Exposes Nipple in Sheer Dress.
Nothing, however, will prepare you for the sheer carnage that you're about to witness.
Patsy Hill had less than 24 hours to experience the sheer relief that working with Hospice brings.
In style, quality, and sheer, ecstatic lobster-roll delight, virtually identical to Mary's Fish Camp (see above).
The display may not be as artful as Best of the Twin Cities hall-of-famer Candyland, but the sheer clutter makes the atmosphere appealing to folks of any age.
This one wins for sheer variety.
It is tempting to dismiss their hot air as an attempt to score political points, but its sheer volume is worrying.
The new version is both more sheer and more open.
Demolition by sheer neglect.
The sheer number of city dining options can make it difficult to choose a place to eat.
Aside from sheer curiosity, examining Einstein 's brain could yield scientifically valuable insights.
Sheer Photography Power in Your Hands.
Father on school shooting: It's sheer terror.

In science:

The fact that most real complex networks are only partially available to us as a consequence of their sheer size and complexity, it becomes of critical importance to understand how well these structures can be investigated by using sampling strategies such as different types of random walks.
Exploring Complex Networks through Random Walks
One of the ma jor problems is the sheer number of order p6 constants that contributes.
Chiral Perturbation Theory Beyond One Loop
One is to find the checks coming from the knowledge of the divergence structure and the Lagrangian at order p6 and the other is the sheer complexity of the calculations in terms of the size of the expressions.
Chiral Perturbation Theory Beyond One Loop
The radical increase in the amount of IT-generated data from physical, living and social systems brings about new challenges related to the sheer size of data.
Towards Distributed Petascale Computing
Not only in terms of formulating the required couplings across the scales or between multi-science models, but also in terms of the sheer computational complexity of such models.
Towards Distributed Petascale Computing