1. a person of the same legal status: a jury of one’s peers.
  2. a person who is equal to another in abilities, qualifications, age, background, and social status.
  3. something of equal worth or quality: a sky-scraper without peer.
  4. a nobleman.
  5. a member of any of the five degrees of the nobility in Great Britain and Ireland (duke, marquis, earl, viscount, and baron).
  6. Archaic. a companion.

verb (used without object)

  1. to look narrowly or searchingly, as in the effort to discern clearly.
  2. to peep out or appear slightly.
  3. to come into view.


  1. a member of a nobility; nobleman
  2. a person who holds any of the five grades of the British nobility: duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baronSee also life peer
    1. a person who is an equal in social standing, rank, age, etc
    2. (as modifier)peer pressure
  3. archaic a companion; mate

verb (intr)

  1. to look intently with or as if with difficultyto peer into the distance
  2. to appear partially or dimlythe sun peered through the fog

n.c.1300, “an equal in rank or status” (early 13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Anglo-French peir, Old French per (10c.), from Latin par “equal” (see par (n.)). Sense of “a noble” (late 14c.) is from Charlemagne’s Twelve Peers in the old romances, who, like the Arthurian knights of the Round Table, originally were so called because all were equal. Sociological sense of “one of the same age group or social set” is from 1944. Peer review attested by 1970. Peer pressure is first recorded 1971. v.“to look closely,” 1590s, variant of piren (late 14c.), with a long -i-, probably related to or from East Frisian piren “to look,” of uncertain origin. Influenced in form and sense by Middle English peren (late 14c.), shortened form of aperen (see appear). Related: Peered; peering.

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