Definition of lairy in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈlerē/

adjective (lairier, lairiest)

British informal
1Cunning or conceited.
Example sentences
  • Like Lads - the real inheritors of the hippie legacy - Emin's bleary, blurry, beery, leery, lairy anti-sensualist sensibility is an advert for the vacuity of her own preferences.
  • The hero of Ken Loach's new film is Liam, a lairy young lad a few weeks shy of his 16th birthday, caught with his friend Pinball selling contraband fags in a pub, without reference to HM customs and excise.
  • Bringing a set of darts to an interview could be viewed as a warning to lairy journalists to mind their manners, but not with Meadows.
2Ostentatiously attractive; flashy: the former Hollywood bad girl is putting her lairy Tinseltown past behind her
More example sentences
  • It wasn't dinner at The Ivy, it was very, very lairy.
  • The contortionist woman was probably the most fun; lairy as hell with the best ‘orgasm face’ I've ever seen.
  • His stark garage tunes - inflected by house and hip hop - celebrated late-night, low rent Britain in all its lairy glory.
3Aggressive or rowdy: a couple of lairy people pushed me around
More example sentences
  • ‘We would move if you push down,’ said one lairy fellow, ‘But nobody's pushing, so we'll stay where we are.’
  • If Micheál Martin (who's on a bit of a personal crusade against fags) had successfully implemented his ban, would this hung over and rather lairy crew have forsaken their twenty packs?
  • This eruption of checkerboard shirts and big-buckle jeans can reach a point of critical mass, where the whole thing has to explode onto the streets, in a lairy mess of half learned rebel songs and broken glass.


Mid 19th century (originally Cockney slang): alteration of leery. Sense 2 was originally Australian slang and dates from the early 20th century.

  • For a century or more lairy has been Australian and New Zealand slang for ‘ostentatious, flashy’. British English has adopted this use, to join an earlier, originally Cockney sense ‘cunning or conceited’, as well as the meaning ‘aggressive, rowdy’. The word is a form of leery (late 17th century), which means ‘cautious or wary’ and is related to leer (mid 16th century) ‘to look at in a lecherous way’, from Old English hleorcheek’.

Words that rhyme with lairy

airy, Azeri, canary, carabinieri, Carey, Cary, chary, clary, contrary, dairy, Dari, faerie, glairy, glary, Guarneri, hairy, miserere, nary, Nyerere, prairie, Salieri, scary, Tipperary, vary, wary

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lair·y

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.