queer

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English[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia

Etymology[edit]

Attested since about 1510, from Scots, perhaps from Middle Low German (Brunswick dialect) queer (oblique, off-center) (also compare with German quer (diagonally)), from Proto-Germanic *þwerhaz, from Proto-Indo-European *terkʷ- (to turn, twist, wind). Compare Latin torqueo. Related to thwart. Began to be used to describe gay people in the late 1800s, see usage notes for more.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

queer (comparative queerer, superlative queerest)

  1. (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, page 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, page 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, in 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.
    • 1927, J. B. S. Haldane, “Possible Worlds” in Possible Worlds and Other Papers, London: Chatto & Windus,[5], [6]
      Now, my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.
  2. (Britain, informal, dated) Slightly unwell (mainly in to feel queer). [from 18th c.]
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 5, in 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, sometimes derogatory) Homosexual. [from 19th c.]
  4. (colloquial, sometimes derogatory) Not heterosexual: homosexual, bisexual, asexual, etc.
  5. (broadly) Pertaining to sexual behaviour or identity which does not conform to conventional heterosexual norms, assumptions etc. [from 20th c.]
    the queer community
    • 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?

Usage notes[edit]

  • Queer, in the sense of "gay" or "non-heterosexual", has gone in and out of use as a pejorative and as a self-identifier a number of times:[1] it began to be used to describe gay people in the late 1800s (e.g. in an 1894 letter by John Sholto Douglas),[2][3] and became more widespread in the US and became used as a self-identifier by American gay men by the 1910s, continuing into the 1950s, though by the 1940s younger ones considered it pejorative and preferred gay, which had been in used since the 1930s, and had come by the 1950s to encompass the whole LGBT community.[1][4] Queer began to be reclaimed as a neutral or positive descriptor by the 1980s,[5] at first most prominently by those who wanted to distinguish themselves from gay-identified people they felt had become too conservative and assimilationist.[6] Some other people oppose the term as being still pejorative, or too radical, too informal, or too technical.[7][8] The pejorative applied mainly to those assigned male at birth who were perceived as homosexual or effeminate; the reclaimed term is used by people of any sex or gender.[9] (Compare genderqueer, an umbrella term for noncisgender and non-binarynonmale, nonfemalegender identities.)
  • See also Wikipedia.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

queer (plural queers)

  1. (colloquial, sometimes derogatory) A person who is or appears homosexual, or who has homosexual qualities.
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, The Liar, pp. 11–12:
      ‘You're a fucking queer and you're turning the whole House into fucking queers.’
      Queer am I?’ said Adrian. ‘They called Oscar Wilde a queer, they called Michelangelo a queer, they called Tchaikovsky a —’
      ‘And they were queers,’ said Sargent, another prefect.
      ‘Well, yes, there is that,’ conceded Adrian, ‘my argument rather falls down there I grant you, but what I say is this, my door is always open to you, R.B.-J., and to you as well, Sargent, naturally, and if either of you has any problems coming to terms with your sexuality you mustn't hesitate to visit me and talk about it.’
      ‘Oh for God's sake —’
  2. (colloquial, sometimes derogatory) A person of any non-heterosexual sexuality or sexual identity.
  3. (colloquial, sometimes derogatory) A person of any genderqueer identity.
  4. (definite, with "the", informal, archaic) Counterfeit money.
    Synonyms: funny money, snide

Usage notes[edit]

  • See the notes on the adjective (above) for more on the meaning of the term.
  • Regarding the use of the term as a noun, compare the usage notes about gay.

Synonyms[edit]

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 Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (transitive, dated) To render an endeavor or agreement ineffective or null.
    Synonym: invalidate
  2. (Britain, dialect, dated) To puzzle.
    • 1887, G. W. Appelton, A Terrible Legacy: A Tale of the South Downs, London: Ward and Downey, Chapter II, page 12, [7]:
      "But lor-a-mussy, Jacob, how could a woman get away from here with all her boxes in the middle of the night?"
      "That's what queered me," and Spink slowly shook his head, "and queered a good many; for of course it got newsed about [] "
    • 1894, Ivan Dexter, Talmud: A Strange Narrative of Central Australia, published in serial form in Port Adelaide News and Lefevre's Peninsula Advertiser (SA), Chapter III, [8]:
      "Where do you come from?" Stanley queered.
  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.
    • 1920, F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, Book Two, Chapter IV, pages 270-271, [9]:
      "Food is what queered the party. We ordered a big supper to be sent up to the room about two o'clock. Alec didn't give the waiter a tip, so I guess the little bastard snitched."
    • 1926, D. H. Lawrence, "Glad Ghosts" in The Complete Short Stories, Penguin, 1977, Vol. 3, page 678:
      Well, then I got buried—shell dropped, and the dug-out caved in—and that queered me. They sent me home.
  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.
    • 2013, Mark Davidson, Deborah Martin, Urban Politics: Critical Approaches, SAGE (→ISBN), chapter 8:
      We might say that there has been a ‘queering’ of urban studies insofar as the metropolitan lives, subcultures and social movements of gays and lesbians are now seen as valid objects of study.

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 Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Adverb[edit]

queer (comparative more queer, superlative most queer)

  1. Queerly.

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  • queer at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • queer in Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, edited by The Keywords Project, Colin MacCabe, Holly Yanacek, 2018.
  • queer in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
  1. 1.0 1.1 Chauncey, George (1995) Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940[1], Basic Books, →ISBN, pages 13–16
    J. L. Mey, Concise Encyclopedia of Pragmatics (2009, →ISBN), page 821
  2. ^ Foldy, Michael S. (1997) The Trials of Oscar Wilde: Deviance, Morality, and Late-Victorian Society, Yale University Press, →ISBN, pages 22–23
  3. ^ Robb, Graham (2005) Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century, W. W. Norton & Company, →ISBN, pages 262
  4. ^ Grahn, Judy (1984) Another Mother Tongue - Gay Words, Gay Worlds[2], Boston, MA: Beacon Press, →ISBN, pages 30–33
  5. ^ queer, Oxford University Press, 2014
  6. ^ That's Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation[3], illustrated, revised edition, Counterpoint Press, 2008, →ISBN, page 1
  7. ^ “Must Identity Movements Self-Destruct? A Queer Dilemma”, in Social Problems, volume 42, issue 3, August 1995, DOI:10.1525/sp.1995.42.3.03x0104z, pages 390–407
  8. ^ LGBT Activism and the Making of Europe: A Rainbow Europe?[4], Palgrave Macmillan, 28 October 2014, →ISBN, pages 137–138
  9. ^ GLAAD media reference guide

German[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Adjective[edit]

queer

  1. Alternative form of quer
Declension[edit]

Adverb[edit]

queer

  1. Alternative form of quer

Etymology 2[edit]

Borrowed from English queer.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

queer (not comparable)

  1. (colloquial) queer
    • 2019, metamorphosen 23 – Queer: Magazin für Literatur und Kultur, metamorphosen im Verbrecher Verlag (→ISBN), page 5:
      Die nachvollziehbare Gegenwehr macht queer zu einer immer verbisseneren Chiffre für eine vermeintlich klar abgegrenzte Identität: anti-rassistisch, anti-kapitalistisch, radikal. QUEER IST UTOPISTISCH. Bin ich queer genug?
Declension[edit]

Further reading[edit]