Definition of queer in US English:



  • 1Strange; odd.

    ‘she had a queer feeling that they were being watched’
    • ‘This is a strange, queer, odd bunch - an odd assortment.’
    • ‘‘He was always a queer man but that winter he was queerer than ever,’ remembered Black Elk.’
    • ‘It enabled Guy to better understand the strange world of the Middle Sentients, the queer creatures who moved about the parallel world.’
    • ‘I never thought of myself as having any morals but it seems a few firmly held convictions are lurking in there somewhere, doing queer things to my stomach when someone questions their validity.’
    • ‘The only strange thing was a queer kind of mound, in a glade by the bank of a stream.’
    • ‘Now why is the right foot a weird blue and left foot a queer red?’
    • ‘A queer assortment, though such combinations are not unusual in the rural areas.’
    • ‘It was a queer remark, mediaeval in its construction, but searing in its heat.’
    • ‘On the way home he wonders why he must be so queer and strange and spoil things.’
    • ‘With a queer uncanny innocence, he seems always to have taken this one thing for granted.’
    • ‘A queer man he was, with a right eye that was bigger than his left - and it twitched.’
    • ‘The rest of the group will be wearing masks called Zevala, dedicated to eccentric and queer animals from mythology.’
    • ‘There is a curious, not to say queer paradox here, though.’
    • ‘I invite you to relive this most extraordinary of expeditions with me as we explore the strange and queer lands of England, Scotland, and the airport in Germany.’
    • ‘Some local people seem not to exactly understand Coleman's exploits that may radiate a queer mystery.’
    • ‘He said this strangely, as if it was a queer thing to be up at this hour.’
    • ‘Something in Dana's head felt weird, but not any stranger than the queer feeling in her heart.’
    • ‘Dr. Strange is known for being the master of the queer and unusual dark arts of magic.’
    • ‘To me it was much more to do with irony, or some weird twisted queer sense of humour.’
    • ‘So there were many types of guppies, tetra and this queer tortoise with a spout for mouth - really strange looking.’
    odd, strange, unusual, funny, peculiar, curious, bizarre, weird, outlandish, eccentric, unconventional, unorthodox, uncanny, unexpected, unfamiliar, abnormal, anomalous, atypical, untypical, different, out of the ordinary, out of the way, extraordinary, remarkable, puzzling, mystifying, mysterious, perplexing, baffling, unaccountable, incongruous, uncommon, irregular, outré, offbeat, singular, deviant, aberrant, freak, freakish
    suspicious, suspect, irregular, questionable, dubious, doubtful, funny, mysterious, murky, dark, criminal, dishonest, corrupt, nefarious, crafty, deceitful, shifty, underhand, dishonourable, unscrupulous, unprincipled, fraudulent, illegal, unlawful
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    1. 1.1British dated, informal predicative Slightly ill.
      ill, unwell, poorly, bad, out of sorts, indisposed, not oneself, sick, queasy, nauseous, nauseated, peaky, liverish, green about the gills, run down, washed out, faint, dizzy, giddy
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  • 2offensive, informal (of a person) homosexual.

    gay, lesbian, sapphic, lesbigay
    homosexual, gay, lesbian, sapphic
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    1. 2.1 Denoting or relating to a sexual or gender identity that does not correspond to established ideas of sexuality and gender, especially heterosexual norms.
      ‘queer geek culture has featured gay themes since the 1980s’
      ‘nightclubs have traditionally been a space where queer people, trans women in particular, can explore gender with relative safety’


offensive, informal
  • A homosexual man.

    gay, lesbian, gay person, lesbigay
    homosexual, gay, lesbian
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[with object]informal
  • Spoil or ruin (an agreement, event, or situation)

    ‘Reg didn't want someone meddling and queering the deal at the last minute’
    • ‘My dismount, however, would have queered my chances for even the bronze.’
    • ‘With Glasgow Accies and Lenzie queering the pitch, promotion would always have been hard this year - next year Cumnock hope to be among the favourites.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Even so, the scene is in no need of being further queered by Brian Kulick, the director of the New York Shakespeare Festival's current Central Park revival.’
    • ‘As with any partnering strategy the question is how deep does the relationship run and how do the companies stop queering each other's pitch.’
    • ‘It's for a project which is in its early stages, and is confidential, so posting details could queer the pitch somewhat, as it were.’
    • ‘Advanced Micro Devices has again attempted to queer Intel's developer forum pitch by using an intercept and kill strategy.’
    • ‘Since a viewer watching this collection would have spent three previous episodes of tedium hearing about the mystery women who queered things between Slaughter and the DEA, it's nice to have the non-entity fleshed out.’
    • ‘The financial services industry has to a large extent queered its own pitch.’
    • ‘The ‘beer orders’ of 1989, which forced brewers to offload their vast tied estates, further queered the brewers' pitch.’
    • ‘They suspected that the presidential adviser was secretly trying to queer the lawsuit, which had been undertaken by a Democratic attorney general.’
    • ‘And it's the families that could wind up queering this deal.’
    • ‘Any unwelcome associations between this and the firm's frequent difficulties in getting its software delivered on time were obviously not enough to queer the deal.’
    • ‘The pitch is further queered by the weakness of the US dollar, which makes Ireland a far more expensive travel destination for Americans.’
    • ‘In the case of the police shooting, however, a running commentary on the investigation should be mandatory considering it now looks like the IPCC may be queering its own investigation.’
    • ‘Families in both of these control most of the stock and the families could end up queering this deal.’
    • ‘He knew killing Vida would queer his deal with Zoltan and leave him worse off than before.’
    • ‘An infatuation with statistics impels investigators to queer the pitch of an investigation and resort to shortcut methods to solve a crime somehow.’
    • ‘The two major parties use the tyranny of their majority to put their own people - their own stooges - on the commission, to make sure that they queer the pitch in their own favour.’
    • ‘This year's general election saw the media do several things which queered the pitch of the election debate.’
    spoil, damage, impair, harm, be detrimental to, mar, wreck, destroy, devastate, smash, shatter, scupper, scotch, disrupt, undo, thwart, hinder, foil, ruin, blight, injure, cripple, hurt, jeopardize, endanger, imperil, threaten, put at risk, undermine, prejudice, be prejudicial to, be disadvantageous to, play havoc with, be deleterious to, compromise
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The word queer was first used to mean ‘homosexual’ in the late 19th century; when used by heterosexual people, it was originally an aggressively derogatory term. By the late 1980s, however, some gay people began to deliberately use the word queer in place of gay or homosexual, in an attempt, by using the word positively, to deprive it of its negative power. Queer also came to have broader connotations, relating not only to homosexuality but to any sexual orientation or gender identity not corresponding to heterosexual norms. The neutral use of queer is now well established and widely used, especially as an adjective or modifier, and exists alongside the derogatory usage


Early 16th century: considered to be from German quer ‘oblique, perverse’, but the origin is doubtful.