sheer number of

Discussion in 'English Only' started by gloria_taipei, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. gloria_taipei Senior Member

    Taipei
    Taiwan, Chinese
    Hello to everyone,

    I came across this sentence and I don't know what "sheer number" means. I consulted the dictionary and didn't find any definition of sheer that fit here. Could anyone help me?

    Sentence:
    The sheer number of eyewitness, and the object's strange trajectory make the case compelling to the team.

    (The sentence here describes a UFO case.)

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    "The sheer number" should be understood as the 'very large number' of...

    It's an idiom. (often the sheer weight of (the) numbers - weirdly)
     
  3. gloria_taipei Senior Member

    Taipei
    Taiwan, Chinese
    I see. That's why I couldn't find any relevant definition of sheer to fit in this expression. Thank you! :)
     
  4. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    I agree, the dictionary alone does not seem to define this meaning with a clarity. If you look it up in the WR dictionary (sheer), and scroll down the page a bit, there is an abundance of links to similar usages of 'sheer' as discussed in previous WR forum threads - you might find them interesting.
     
  5. gloria_taipei Senior Member

    Taipei
    Taiwan, Chinese
    Thank you! It's very kind of you to point that out. I'll go look at them. I'll also look there first in the future when I have questions about a word.
     

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