Definition of queer in English:


Line breaks: queer
Pronunciation: /kwɪə


  • 2 informal , • derogatory (Of a man) homosexual.


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


[with object] informal Back to top  


in Queer Street

British informal , • dated In difficulty, typically by being in debt.
More example sentencesSynonyms
impoverished, poor, penniless, penurious, in penury, indigent, insolvent, impecunious, moneyless, hard up, poverty-stricken, needy, in need, in want, destitute; poor as a church mouse, without a sou, in straitened circumstances, on one's beam ends, unable to make ends meet; British on the breadline, without a penny (to one's name)
informal broke, flat broke, strapped for cash, cleaned out, strapped, on one's uppers, without two pennies/brass farthings to rub together
British informal skint, boracic, stony broke
North American informal stone broke
rare pauperized, beggared

queer fish

British informal
A person whose behaviour seems strange or unusual: they have invariably chosen the queer fish in preference to the more or less recognisable member of the human race
More example sentences
  • The musical is a queer fish, but youth theatre thrives on such challenges.

queer someone's pitch

British Spoil someone’s plans or chances of doing something, especially secretly or maliciously.
More example sentences
  • This is the time of the year, when commercial establishments queer their pitch for selling their products.
  • It would seem likely that there is at least an oral agreement that Corel will not start any more such lawsuits to queer Microsoft 's pitch in the corporate marketplace.
  • Nor did he want to queer his pitch with the Labour leadership, when he decided to press forward with his avowed intention to seek re-entry to the party at a later date.



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.


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.


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.


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


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, 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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Pronunciation: grəʊˈtɛskəri
grotesque quality or grotesque things collectively