a facial expression of contempt or scorn; the upper lip curls
a contemptuous or scornful remark
express through a scornful smile
English Synonyms and Antonyms
A sneer may be simply a contemptuous facial contortion, or it may be some brief satirical utterance that throws a contemptuous side-light on what it attacks without attempting to prove or disprove; a depreciatory implication may be given in a sneer such as could only be answered by elaborate argument or proof, which would seem to give the attack undue importance:
Who can refute a sneer?
PaleyMoral Philosophy bk. v, ch. ix.
A fling is careless and commonly pettish; a taunt is intentionally insulting and provoking; the sneer is supercilious; the taunt is defiant. The jeer and gibe are uttered; the gibe is bitter, and often sly or covert; the jeer is rude and open. A scoff may be in act or word, and is commonly directed against that which claims honor, reverence, or worship. Compare BANTER.
fling, gibe, jeer, mock, scoff, taunt
Only an essentially vicious mind is capable of a sneer at virtue.
Dictionary of English Synonymes
scoff, gibe, jeer, flout, mock, fleer, rail, turn up the nose
scoff, jeer, jibe, fling