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Shear vs. sheer

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  • Shear is a verb meaning to remove fleece or hair by clipping or cutting, and it has numerous related definitions. Sheer is (1) an adjective meaning fine or transparent or (2) almost perpendicular, and (3) a verb meaning to swerve or cause to swerve. It also has several other definitions relating to these main ones.

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    Comments

    1. “Shear” is also often used in materials science to mean “slicing something at an angle,” totally UNrelated to shearing sheep.

      • HoneyBadger says:

        Thank you for confirming this definition. A former dentist had no idea what I was trying to convey when I used the term “sheared” to describe the piece missing from the surface of my tooth.

    2. Richard P. Weiss says:

      Sheer also means “complete” or “pure,” i.e. “sheer luck.”

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