Sheer and shear are two words that have the same origin and sound but entirely different meanings. They are often confused with each other and used in a wrong way while writing. Here are a few easy meanings and examples of this pair of homophones to clear out the general confusion about their usage.
Shear as verb:
Shear as noun:
A strain produced by pressure in the structure of a substance, when its layers are laterally shifted in relation to each other is known as shear. The movement in the plates in the surface of the earth that causes them to change shape or break is also called shear.
Sheer as noun:
The upward slope of a ship's lines towards the bow and stern is called a sheer. When someone or something suddenly deviate from its expected course or path it is known as sheer. Sheer mostly describes the deviance of a ship from its course or the position of a ship riding to a singleanchor and heading towards it.
Sheer as verb:
When someone avoids a certain situation or move away from a specific unpleasant subject, he/she is sheering away. It can be substituted by words like turn away, flinch, recoil or shy away, sheer is a very commonly mistaken word.
Sheer as adjective:
Shear or Sheer:
When you clip off your hair with scissors, you shear (verb) it with shears (noun). When a boat changes its path in the water it sheers away (verb), and when you buy a fancy glossy cloth it is also sheer (adjective). So next time you come across any sheer make sure that you know the difference.