Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: MATERIAL, TEXTILES

Date: 1500-1600
Origin: Probably from Old Norse skærr 'pure'

sheer

1 adjective
     
sheer1
1

the sheer weight/size etc

used to emphasize that something is very heavy, large etc
the sheer weight/size etc of
The sheer size of the country makes communications difficult.
2

sheer luck/happiness/stupidity etc

luck, happiness etc with no other feeling or quality mixed with it [= pure]:
I'll never forget the look of sheer joy on her face.
sheer hypocrisy
3 a sheer drop, cliff, slope etc is very steep and almost vertical
4TIM sheer nylon, silk etc is very thin and fine, so that it is almost transparent:
sheer stockings
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