noun: a word or look of derision or mockery
When Adam suggested that the firm’s partners do the work pro bono he half-expected to be hit with a collective fleer, but the others readily agreed.
“He expressed himself, of course, with eccentric abandon—it would have been impossible for him to do otherwise; but he was content to indicate his deepest feelings with a fleer.” — Lytton Strachey, Eminent Victorians, 1918
Did you know?
Fleer first appeared in English as a verb (fleryen in Middle English) meaning “to laugh, grin, or grimace in a coarse manner.” The verb is of Scandinavian origin and is akin to the Norwegian flire, meaning “to giggle.” The noun fleer first and most famously appeared in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello, in which the evil Iago invites Othello to observe the signs of his wife’s unfaithfulness in the visage of her supposed lover, Cassio: “And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns / That dwell in every region of his face….”