American Dictionary of the English Language

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SHEER, adjective

1. Pure; clear; separate from anything foreign; unmingled; as sheer ale. But this application is unusual. We saysheer argument, sheer wit, sheer falsehook, etc.

2. Clear; thin; as sheer muslin.

SHEER, adverb Clean; quite; at once. Obs.

SHEER, verb transitive To sheer [Not in use.]

SHEER, verb intransitive [See Shear, the sense of which is to separate.]

1. In seamen's language, to decline or deviate from the line of the proper course, as a ship when not steered with steadiness.

2. To slip or move aside.

To sheer off, to turn or move aside to a distance.

To sheer up, to turn and approach to a place or ship.

SHEER, noun

1. The longitudinal curve or bend of a ship's deck or sides.

2. The position in which a ship is sometimes kept at single anchor, to keep her clear of it.

To break sheer, to deviate from that position and fisk fouling the anchor.