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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 *terk?- (“to turn, twist, wind”). Compare Latin torqueo. Related to thwart.
- (dated) Weird, odd or different; whimsical. [from 16th c.]
- (Britain, informal, dated) Slightly unwell (mainly in to feel queer). [from 18th c.]
- (colloquial, sometimes derogatory) Homosexual. [from 19th c.]
- (colloquial, sometimes derogatory) Not heterosexual: homosexual, bisexual, asexual, etc.
- (broadly) Pertaining to sexual behaviour or identity which does not conform to conventional heterosexual norms, assumptions etc. [from 20th c.]
queer (plural queers)
- (colloquial, sometimes derogatory) A person who is or appears homosexual, or who has homosexual qualities.
- (colloquial, sometimes derogatory) A person of any non-heterosexual sexuality or sexual identity.
- (definite, with "the", informal, archaic) Counterfeit money.
- (transitive) To render an endeavor or agreement ineffective or null.
- (Britain, dialectal, dated) To puzzle.
- (slang, dated) To ridicule; to banter; to rally.
- (slang, dated) To spoil the effect or success of, as by ridicule; to throw a wet blanket on; to spoil.
- (social sciences) To reevaluate or reinterpret (a work) with an eye to sexual orientation and/or to gender, as by applying queer theory.