Definition of queer in English:

queer

Syllabification: queer
Pronunciation: /kwi(ə)r
 
/

adjective

  • 2 informal , chiefly • derogatory (Especially of a man) homosexual.

noun

informal , chiefly • derogatory Back to top  
  • A homosexual man.

verb

[with object] informal Back to top  
  • Spoil or ruin (an agreement, event, or situation): Reg didn’t want someone meddling and queering the deal at the last minute
    More example sentences
    • Aware, in his mid-forties, that all the time off for cricket had queered his prospects for mainstream advancement at the bank, Alan seized the new career opportunity.
    • My dismount, however, would have queered my chances for even the bronze.
    • And it's the families that could wind up queering this deal.

Derivatives

queerish

adjective
More example sentences
  • Queer and queerish films have come increasingly de rigueur in the modern cinema landscape, with a subsequent broadening of the types of queers portrayed.
  • ‘I am just off to India …’, EM Forster wrote to his publisher in a letter disclosed for the first time yesterday, ‘I expect to have an interesting time and penetrate into queerish places.’
  • The ex-senator as full of queerish ideas as usual.

queerly

adverb
More example sentences
  • Although his tone was practical I thought I could catch an undernote of dismay queerly mixed with relief.
  • It was as if Nabokov had glimpsed the legions of Barthesans (rhymes with partisans) coming around some queerly straightened bend in time, and liked what he saw.
  • The order forbade them from ‘approving of’ or ‘permitting’ a sick-out, queerly assuming that they might have the power to prevent one.

queerness

noun
More example sentences
  • William Blackwood and Sons, publishers of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, had been stomaching queerness and Scotchness - and much else besides - for the best part of a century.
  • Society would be more interested in studying the artistic and literary tradition associated with queerness than it would be in researching the causes and effects of homosexuality.
  • Widespread violence meeting assertions of queerness and women's rights indicate the fundamental challenges that these movements embody.

Origin

early 16th century: considered to be from German quer 'oblique, perverse', but the origin is doubtful.

Usage

The word queer was first used to mean ‘homosexual’ in the early 20th century: it was originally, and usually still is, a deliberately offensive and aggressive term when used by heterosexual people. In recent years, however, some gay people have taken the word queer and deliberately used it in place of gay or homosexual, in an attempt, by using the word positively, to deprive it of its negative power. This use of queer is now well established and widely used among gay people (especially as an adjective or noun modifier, as in queer rights ; queer-bashing ) and at present exists alongside the other use.

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