queer

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Scots, perhaps from Middle Low German (Brunswick dialect) queer (oblique, off-center), related to German quer (diagonally), from Old High German twerh (oblique), from Proto-Germanic *þwerhaz, from Proto-Indo-European *terkʷ- (to turn, twist, wind). Related to thwart.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

queer (comparative queerer, superlative queerest)

  1. (now slightly dated) Weird, odd or different; whimsical. [from 16th c.]
    • (Can we find and add a quotation of Washington Irving to this entry?)
    • 1865, Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
      “I wish I hadn’t cried so much!” said Alice, as she swam about, trying to find her way out. “I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears! That will be a queer thing, to be sure! However, everything is queer to-day.”
    • 1877, Ulysses S. Grant, p. 252, The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant: November 1, 1876–September 30, 1878
      One thing has struck me as a bit queer. During my two terms of office the whole Democratic press, and the morbidly honest and 'reformatory' portion of the Republican press, thought it horrible to keep U.S. troops stationed in the Southern States, and when they were called upon to protect the lives of negroes–as much citizens under the Constitution as if their skins were white–the country was scarcely large enough to hold the sound of indignation belched forth by them for some years. Now, however, there is no hesitation about exhausting the whole power of the government to suppress a strike on the slightest intimation that danger threatens.
    • 1885, David Dixon Porter, p. 274, Incidents and Anecdotes of the Civil War
      It looked queer to me to see boxes labeled "His Excellency, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America." The packages so labeled contained Bass ale or Cognac brandy, which cost "His Excellency" less than we Yankees had to pay for it. Think of the President drinking imported liquors while his soldiers were living on pop-corn and water!
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 5, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Of all the queer collections of humans outside of a crazy asylum, it seemed to me this sanitarium was the cup winner. […] When you're well enough off so's you don't have to fret about anything but your heft or your diseases you begin to get queer, I suppose.
  2. (slightly dated) Slightly unwell (mainly in to feel queer). [from 18th c.]
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 5, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Of all the queer collections of humans outside of a crazy asylum, it seemed to me this sanitarium was the cup winner. … When you're well enough off so's you don't have to fret about anything but your heft or your diseases you begin to get queer, I suppose.
  3. (colloquial) Homosexual. [from 20th c.]
  4. More broadly: pertaining to sexual behaviour or identity which does not conform to conventional heterosexual standards, assumptions etc. [from 20th c.]
    • 1999, Judith Butler, Gender Trouble, Routledge 2002, Preface to 1999 edition:
      If gender is no longer to be understood as consolidated through normative sexuality, then is there a crisis of gender that is specific to queer contexts?

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

queer (plural queers)

  1. (colloquial) A person who is or appears homosexual, or who has homosexual qualities.
  2. (colloquial) A person of atypical sexuality or sexual identity.
  3. (colloquial, vulgar, derogatory) General term of abuse, casting aspersions on target's sexuality; compare gay.
  4. (definite, the queer, informal, archaic) Counterfeit money.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The use of queer to mean "homosexual" was formerly pejorative, and it may still be considered pejorative, especially by older speakers. Many younger speakers have reclaimed the term, however, as a positive descriptor. The pejorative applied mainly to males; the reclaimed term is used of all genders and, indeed, it is used by some speakers as a synonym of LGBT, for referring to the whole gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, etc community.[1] (Compare genderqueer, a positive umbrella term for noncisgender or nonmale, nonfemale gender identities.) In particular, queer has often been used by gay and LGBT people who reject mainstream-gay values and culture as overly conservative and assimilationist. See Wikipedia for more.

Hypernyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Verb[edit]

queer (third-person singular simple present queers, present participle queering, simple past and past participle queered)

  1. (transitive) To render an endeavor or agreement ineffective or null.
  2. (UK, dialect, dated) To puzzle.
  3. (slang, dated) To ridicule; to banter; to rally.
  4. (slang, dated) To spoil the effect or success of, as by ridicule; to throw a wet blanket on; to spoil.
  5. (social sciences) To reevaluate or reinterpret a work with an eye to sexual orientation and/or to gender, as by applying queer theory.
    • 2003, Marcella Althaus-Reid, The Queer God (page 9)
      If I go, for instance, to the history of the church in Latin America, and decide to queer the history of the Jesuitic Missions, I may find that, in many ways, the missions were more sexual than Christian.
    • 2006, Carla Freccero, Queer/Early/Modern (page 80)
      Jonathan Goldberg further explores the implications of queering history in his essay in the same volume.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Adverb[edit]

queer (comparative more queer, superlative most queer)

  1. Queerly.

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ GLAAD media reference guide