• WordNet 3.6
    • v sneer smile contemptuously "she sneered at her little sister's efforts to play the song on the piano"
    • v sneer express through a scornful smile "she sneered her contempt"
    • n sneer a facial expression of contempt or scorn; the upper lip curls
    • n sneer a contemptuous or scornful remark
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Sneer A smile, grin, or contortion of the face, indicative of contempt; an indirect expression or insinuation of contempt.
    • Sneer The act of sneering.
    • Sneer To inssinuate contempt by a covert expression; to speak derisively. "I could be content to be a little sneared at."
    • Sneer To show contempt by turning up the nose, or by a particular facial expression.
    • Sneer To show mirth awkwardly. "And sneers as learnedly as they,
      Like females o'er their morning tea."
      "Midas, exposed to all their jeers ,
      Had lost his art, and kept his ears."
      "The fop, with learning at defiance, Scoffs at the pedant and science."
    • Sneer To treat with sneers; to affect or move by sneers. "Nor sneered nor bribed from virtue into shame."
    • Sneer To utter with a grimace or contemptuous expression; to utter with a sneer; to say sneeringly; as, to sneer fulsome lies at a person. "“A ship of fools,” he sneered ."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • sneer To grin or laugh foolishly.
    • sneer To grin; especially and usually, to grin or smile in a contemptuous manner; express contempt by a grimace marked by slight turning up of the nose.
    • sneer To insinuate contempt by a covert expression; use words suggestive rather than expressive of contempt; speak derisively.
    • sneer Synonyms Scoff, Sneer, Jeer, Gibe. Scoff is the strongest word for the expression of utter contempt or abhorrence by opprobrious lauguage. To sneer is to express contempt by more or less covert sarcasm. To jeer is to try to raise a laugh by sarcastic language. To gibe is to use contemptuous, mocking, or taunting expressions.
    • sneer To treat or address with sneers; treat with contempt; sneer at.
    • sneer To utter with a contemptuous expression or grimace.
    • sneer To affect in a specified way by sneering.
    • n sneer A derisive or contemptuous grin or smile; an expression of the face marked by a slight turning up of the nose, and indicating contempt; a look of scorn, disdain, or derision; hence, the feeling thus expressed.
    • n sneer A verbal expression of contempt; an insinuation of scorn or derision by language more or less covert and indirect.
    • n sneer Synonyms See sneer, v. i.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.i Sneer snēr to show contempt by the expression of the face, as by turning up the nose: to insinuate contempt
    • v.t Sneer to utter sneeringly
    • n Sneer an indirect expression of contempt
    • ***


  • Charles Kingsley
    “The world goes up and the world goes down, the sunshine follows the rain; and yesterday's sneer and yesterday's frown can never come over again.”
  • James Russell Lowell
    “A sneer is the weapon of the weak.”
  • Woodrow T. Wilson
    “It is just as hard to do your duty when men are sneering at you as when they are shouting at you.”
  • Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
    “How little praise warms out of a man the good that is in him, as the sneer of contempt which he feels is unjust chill the ardor to excel.”
  • W. S. Gilbert
    “My family pride is something inconceivable. I can't help it. I was born sneering.”
  • Charles Dickens
    “A man in public life expects to be sneered at -- it is the fault of his elevated situation, and not of himself.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. sneren, Dan. snrre, to snarl or grin (like a dog); cf. Prov. E. sneer, to grin, sner, to snort, snert, to sneer at. See Snore (v. i.)


In literature:

And, Guy, I am sorry that I sneered at you to-night; I hardly meant it when I said it.
"Guy Livingstone;" by George A. Lawrence
I find myself unconsciously sneering at young men who are accomplishing things.
"The Young Man and the World" by Albert J. Beveridge
Of those three, the Princess's wore a tolerant smile; Lotzen's a frown; but Courtney's was set in almost a sneer.
"The Colonel of the Red Huzzars" by John Reed Scott
There were red glints in his eyes and a sneer curled his heavy lips.
"The Riddle of the Frozen Flame" by Mary E. Hanshew
The aristocratic classes sneered at his oratorios and complained at his innovations.
"The Great German Composers" by George T. Ferris
Showing us with a covert sneer all the good things that we cannot afford.
"Certain Personal Matters" by H. G. Wells
Sneering at the private affairs of others has long ago been banished from the conversation of well-mannered people.
"Our Deportment" by John H. Young
For he could have sneered at this, and after suitable discipline forgiven its writer more or less.
"None Other Gods" by Robert Hugh Benson
Black Dennis Nolan looked them over with fury in his eyes and a sneer on his lips.
"The Harbor Master" by Theodore Goodridge Roberts
People sneered when they spoke of her.
"Bella Donna" by Robert Hichens

In poetry:

Barriers and heart both broken—dust
Beneath her feet.
You've passed her forty times and sneered
Out in the street.
"To A Cabaret Dancer" by Djuna Barnes
Yet the torrent speeds,
And never heeds
The statues' smiles or sneers;
They come and go,
But the water's flow
Has lasted a thousand years.
"The Cascade" by John Lawson Stoddard
Fearless foes, beyond the ocean!
Little we heed your threat'ning sneers;
Little will they — our children's children —
When you are gone a thousand years.
"Song of a Thousand Years" by Henry Clay Work
Let the scornful sons of earth deride--
Oh, what to us is the sneer of pride?
The wings of thought to our souls are given,
And they bear us aloft to highest heaven.
"The Sons Of Song" by Peter John Allan
"I'll wager a dinner," the other one cried,
"That Mary would venture there now."
"Then wager and lose!" with a sneer he replied,
"I'll warrant she'd fancy a ghost by her side,
"And faint if she saw a white cow."
"Mary - A Ballad" by Robert Southey
Thus speak we and think not, we censure unheeding, unknowing,–
Unkindly and blindly we utter the words of the brain;
We see not the goal of our brother, we see but his going,
And sneer at his fall if he fall, and laugh at his pain.
"The Way Of The World" by George Frederick Cameron

In news:

The Post columnist has been doing her sneering best to try to pump some racial tension into the trial of three cops accused of murdering Sean Bell.
INTERVIEWS Hear Public Image Ltd.'s Sneering ' Lollipop Opera'.
UPTOWN CHARLOTTE — He's one young Obama hater in a sea of Obama lovers at the Democratic National Convention, and he seems to enjoy every sneer he gets.
Sneer at the dragon.
Cynics can sneer , but K's move right.
A Sneer , a Tear, a Comeback.
While we were sneering , China was seizing "clean coal.".
They champion some typefaces and sneer at others.
Perhaps a sneering silence is Chief Wahoo 's crown, but if he could talk, what would he say.
Deadpan Decadence, With a Sneer of Disgust .
Benjamin Brin is one of ultimate Frisbee 's main advocates, a lawyer who sneers at the idiocy and win-at-all-costs approach to the major sports.
Oh, they sneered and giggled in the Big Media when Mike Huckabee picked up the endorsement of bass fishing and deer hunting legend Ray Scott last week.
Sneers just disappear in four-door sedans.
Thanks to the success of Marley & Me (and despite critics' sneers), it seems the dog-memoir genre is here to stay.
TLC 's 'Honey Boo Boo' sneers at sterotypes.