glaive (v.) Look up glaive at
late 13c., used in Middle English of various weapons, especially ones with a long shaft ending in a point or an attached blade, from Old French glaive "lance, spear, sword" (12c.), also figuratively used for "violent death," probably from Latin gladius "sword" (see gladiator); influenced by Latin clava "knotty branch, cudgel, club," related to clavus "nail."
glam (adj.) Look up glam at
slang shortening of glamorous, first attested 1936. Glam rock ("characterized by male performers dressed in glamorous clothes, with the suggestion of androgyny or sexual ambiguity" - OED), attested by 1974. Glamazon "glamourous, dominant woman" attested by 1985 (based on amazon).
glamor Look up glamor at
an alternative spelling of glamour (q.v.), chiefly in U.S., but it defies the usual pattern by not being the predominant spelling of the word there.
glamorize (v.) Look up glamorize at
1901, from glamour + -ize, with typical dropping of the -u- in derivatives (see -or). Related: Glamorized; glamorizing.
glamorous (adj.) Look up glamorous at
1875, from glamour + -ous, with typical dropping of the -u- in derivatives (see -or). Related: Glamorously.
glamour (n.) Look up glamour at
1720, Scottish, "magic, enchantment" (especially in phrase to cast the glamor), a variant of Scottish gramarye "magic, enchantment, spell," said to be an alteration of English grammar (q.v.) in a specialized use of that word's medieval sense of "any sort of scholarship, especially occult learning," the latter sense attested from c. 1500 in English but said to have been more common in Medieval Latin. Popularized in English by the writings of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Sense of "magical beauty, alluring charm" first recorded 1840. As that quality of attractiveness especially associated with Hollywood, high-fashion, celebrity, etc., by 1939.

Jamieson's 1825 supplement to his "Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language" has glamour-gift "the power of enchantment; metaph. applied to female fascination." Jamieson's original edition (1808) looked to Old Norse for the source of the word. Zoëga's Old Icelandic dictionary has glám-sýni "illusion," probably from the same root as gleam.
glamour (v.) Look up glamour at
1814, "to enchant, charm, bewitch," from glamour (n.). Related: Glamoured; glamouring.
glance (n.) Look up glance at
c. 1500, "a sudden movement producing a flash," from glance (v.). Meaning "brief or hurried look" is from 1590s.
glance (v.) Look up glance at
mid-15c., of weapons, "strike obliquely without giving full impact," a nasalized form of glacen "to graze, strike a glancing blow" (c. 1300), from Old French glacier "to slip, make slippery" (compare Old French glaciere "part of a knight's armor meant to deflect blows"), from glace "ice" (see glacial). Sense of "look quickly" (first recorded 1580s) probably was by influence of Middle English glenten "look askance" (see glint (v.)), which also could account for the -n-. Related: Glanced; glancing.
gland (n.) Look up gland at
1690s, from French glande (Old French glandre "a gland," 13c.), from Latin glandula "gland of the throat, tonsil," diminutive of glans (genitive glandis) "acorn, nut; acorn-shaped ball," from PIE root *gwele- (2) "acorn" (cognates: Greek balanos, Armenian kalin, Old Church Slavonic zelodi "acorn;" Lithuanian gile "oak"). Earlier English form was glandula (c. 1400); Middle English also had glandele "inflamed gland" (c. 1400). Extended from tonsils to glands generally.
glanders (n.) Look up glanders at
"horse disease characterized by glandular swelling," early 15c., from Old French glandres "swollen glands," plural of glandre "gland," from Latin glandula (see gland).
glandular (adj.) Look up glandular at
1740, from French glandulaire, from glandule "small gland" (16c.), from Latin glandula (see gland). Earlier was glandelous (late 14c.), from Latin glandulosus.
glans (n.) Look up glans at
head of the penis or clitoris, 1640s, from Latin glans "acorn," also used of acorn-shaped things (see gland).
glare (v.) Look up glare at
late 13c., "to shine brightly," from or related to Middle Dutch, Middle Low German glaren "to gleam," from Proto-Germanic *glaz-; the whole group represents a rhoticization of the root of glass (n.). Sense of "stare fiercely" is from late 14c. Related: Glared; glaring.
glare (n.) Look up glare at
c. 1400, "bright light, dazzling glitter," from glare (v.); especially in reference to light reflected off some surface (17c.). From 1660s in sense of "fierce look." Old English glær (n.) meant "amber."
glaring (adj.) Look up glaring at
late 14c., "staring fiercely," present participle adjective from glare (v.). From 1510s of colors, etc., "vivid, dazzling;" meaning "obtrusively conspicuous" is from 1706. Related: Glaringly.
Glasgow Look up Glasgow at
city in Scotland, from Gaelic, literally "green hollow," from glas "green, verdant" + cau "hollow."
glasnost (n.) Look up glasnost at
1972 (in reference to a letter of 1969 by Solzhenitsyn), from Russian glasnost "openness to public scrutiny," literally "publicity, fact of being public," ultimately from Old Church Slavonic glasu "voice," from PIE *gal-so-, from root *gal- (2) "to call, shout" (see call (v.)). First used in a socio-political sense by Lenin; popularized in English after Mikhail Gorbachev used it prominently in a speech of March 11, 1985, accepting the post of general secretary of the CPSU.
The Soviets, it seems, have rediscovered the value of Lenin's dictum that "glasnost," the Russian word for openness or publicity, is a desirable form of conduct. [New York Times news service article, March 1981]
glass (n.) Look up glass at
Old English glæs "glass; a glass vessel," from Proto-Germanic *glasam "glass" (cognates: Old Saxon glas, Middle Dutch and Dutch glas, German Glas, Old Norse gler "glass, looking glass," Danish glar), from PIE *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives referring to bright materials and gold (cognates: Latin glaber "smooth, bald," Old Church Slavonic gladuku, Lithuanian glodus "smooth"). The PIE root also is the ancestor of widespread words for gray, blue, green, and yellow, such as Old English glær "amber," Latin glaesum "amber" (which might be from Germanic), Old Irish glass "green, blue, gray," Welsh glas "blue."

Restricted sense of "drinking glass" is from early 13c. and now excludes other glass vessels. Meaning "a glass mirror" is from 14c. Meaning "glass filled with running sand to measure time" is from 1550s; meaning "observing instrument" is from 1610s.
glass (v.) Look up glass at
late 14c., "to fit with glass;" 1570s, "to cover with glass," from glass (n.). Related: Glassed; glassing.
glass (adj.) Look up glass at
Old English glæs, from glass (v.). Middle English also had an adjective glazen, from Old English glæsen. The glass snake (1736, actually a limbless lizard) is so called for the fragility of its tail. The glass slipper in "Cinderella" perhaps is an error by Charles Perrault, translating in 1697, mistaking Old French voir "ermine, fur" for verre "glass." In other versions of the tale it is a fur slipper. The proverb about people in glass houses throwing stones is attested by 1779, but earlier forms go back to 17c.:
Who hath glass-windows of his own must take heed how he throws stones at his house. ... He that hath a body made of glass must not throw stones at another. [John Ray, "Handbook of Proverbs," 1670]
Glass-house is from late 14c. as "glass factory," 1838 as "greenhouse."
glass-blower (n.) Look up glass-blower at
1510s, from glass (n.) + blower. Related: Glass-blowing.
glasses (n.) Look up glasses at
"spectacles," 1660s, from plural of glass (n.).
glassful (n.) Look up glassful at
Old English glæsful "as much as a glass will hold;" see glass (n.) + -ful.
glassware (n.) Look up glassware at
1745, from glass (adj.) + ware (n.).
glassy (adj.) Look up glassy at
late 14c., from glass (n.) + -y (2). From early 15c. in reference to the eye, etc., "fixed and expressionless."
Glastonbury Look up Glastonbury at
town in Somersetshire, famous as a prehistoric site, Old English Glestingabyrig, Glastingburi (725), "Stronghold (Old English byrig, dative of burh) of the people (Old English -inga-) living at Glaston," a Celtic name, possibly meaning "woad place."
glaucoma (n.) Look up glaucoma at
1640s (cataracts and glaucoma not distinguished until c. 1705), from Latinized form of Greek glaukoma "cataract, opacity of the lens," perhaps from glaukommatos "gray-eyed," with omma "the eye" + glaukos, an adjective of uncertain origin (see glaucous).
glaucous (adj.) Look up glaucous at
"dull bluish-green, gray," 1670s, from Latin glaucus "bright, sparkling, gleaming," also "bluish-green," of uncertain origin, from Greek glaukos, a word used in Homer of the sea as "gleaming, silvery" (apparently without a color connotation); used by later writers with a sense of "greenish" (of olive leaves) and "blue, gray" (of eyes). Homer's glauk-opis Athene probably originally was a "bright-eyed," not a "gray-eyed" goddess. Greek for "owl" was glaux from its bright, staring eyes. Middle English had glauk "bluish-green, gray" (early 15c.).
glaze (v.) Look up glaze at
late 14c. variant of Middle English glasen "to fit with glass," also "to make shine," from glas (see glass (n.)). The form probably influenced or reinforced by glazier. Of pottery, etc., "cover with a shiny or glossy substance," from c. 1400. Related: Glazed; glazing.
glaze (n.) Look up glaze at
"substance used to make a glossy coating," 1784, from glaze (v.). In reference to a thin coating of ice from 1752.
glazier (n.) Look up glazier at
"one who fits window glass into frames," early 15c. variant of late 14c. glasier (late 13c. as a surname, glasyer, from glass (v.) + -er (1). Influenced by French words in -ier. Alternative glazer recorded from c. 1400 as "one who applies coatings to earthenware."
gleam (n.) Look up gleam at
Old English glæm "a brilliant light; brightness; splendor, radiance, beauty," from Proto-Germanic *glaimiz (cognates: Old Saxon glimo "brightness;" Middle High German glim "spark," gleime "glow-worm;" German glimmen "to glimmer, glow;" Old Norse glja "to shine, glitter, glisten"), from root *glim-, from PIE *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives referring to bright materials and gold (see glass (n.), and compare glad (adj.)).
gleam (v.) Look up gleam at
early 13c., from gleam (n). Related: Gleamed; gleaming.
glean (v.) Look up glean at
early 14c., "to gather by acquisition, scrape together," especially grains left in the field after harvesting, but the earliest use in English is figurative, from Old French glener "to glean" (14c., Modern French glaner) "to glean," from Late Latin glennare "make a collection," of unknown origin. Perhaps from Gaulish (compare Old Irish do-glinn "he collects, gathers," Celtic glan "clean, pure"). Figurative sense was earlier in English than the literal one of "gather grain left by the reapers" (late 14c.). Related: Gleaned; gleaning.
gleaner (n.) Look up gleaner at
mid-15c., agent noun from glean (v.).
gleaning (n.) Look up gleaning at
mid-14c., verbal noun from glean (n.). Related: Gleanings.
glebe (n.) Look up glebe at
late 14c., "soil of the earth; cultivated land;" also "a piece of land forming part of a clergyman's benefice," from Old French glebe, from Latin gleba, glaeba "clod, lump of earth," from PIE *glebh- "to roll into a ball" (cognates: Latin globus "sphere;" Old English clyppan "to embrace;" Lithuanian glebys "armful," globti "to embrace, support").
glee (n.) Look up glee at
Old English gliu, gliw, gleow "entertainment, mirth (usually implying music); jest, play, sport," also "music" and "mockery," presumably from a Proto-Germanic *gleujam but absent in other Germanic languages except for the rare Old Norse gly "joy;" probably related to the group of Germanic words in gl- with senses of "shining; smooth; radiant; joyful" (see glad). A poetry word in Old English and Middle English, obsolete c. 1500-c. 1700, it somehow found its way back to currency late 18c. In Old English, an entertainer was a gleoman (female gleo-mægden).

Glee club (1814) is from the secondary sense of "musical composition for three or more solo voices, unaccompanied, in contrasting movement" (1650s), a form of musical entertainment that flourished 1760-1830.
gleeful (adj.) Look up gleeful at
1580s, from glee + -ful. Related: Gleefully. Alternative gleesome attested from c. 1600.
gleek (n.) Look up gleek at
old three-person card game, 1530s, from French glic, ghelicque (15c.), perhaps from Middle Dutch ghelic (Dutch gelijk) "like, alike" because one of the goals of the game is collecting three cards of the same rank.
gleen (n.) Look up gleen at
"gleam of sunlight," 1650s, probably from a Scandinavian dialectal word; compare Swedish dialectal glena, Danish dialectal glene "clear patch of sky."
gleet (n.) Look up gleet at
mid-14c., "slime, greasy filth," from Old French glete "clay, loam; slime, mud, filth" (12c., Modern French glette), from Latin glitem (nominative glis) "sticky, glutinous ground," back-formation from glittus "sticky."
glen (n.) Look up glen at
"narrow valley," late 15c., from Scottish, from Gaelic gleann "mountain valley" (cognate with Old Irish glenn, Welsh glyn). Common in place names such as Glenlivet (1822), a kind of whiskey, named for the place it was first made (literally "the glen of the Livet," a tributary of the Avon); and Glengarry (1841) a kind of men's cap, of Highland origin, named for a valley in Inverness-shire.
glib (adj.) Look up glib at
1590s, "smooth and slippery," a dialect word, possibly a shortening of obsolete glibbery "slippery," which is perhaps from Low German glibberig "smooth, slippery," from Middle Low German glibberich, from or related to glibber "jelly," all part of the Germanic group of gl- words for "smooth, shining, joyful" (see glad (adj.)). Of words, speakers, etc., from c. 1600. Related: Glibly; glibness.
glide (v.) Look up glide at
Old English glidan "move along smoothly and easily; glide away, vanish; slip, slide" (class I strong verb, past tense glad, past participle gliden), from Proto-Germanic *glidon "to glide" (cognates: Old Saxon glidan, Old Frisian glida, Old High German glitan, German gleiten), probably part of the large group of Germanic words in gl- involving notions of "smooth; shining; joyful" (see glad (adj.)). Related: Glided; gliding. Strong past tense form glid persisted into 20c.
glide (n.) Look up glide at
1580s, from glide (v.). From 1835 as a term in music; from 1889 as a step in dancing or a type of dance.
glider (n.) Look up glider at
mid-15c., "person or thing that glides," agent noun from glide. Meaning "motorless airplane" is c. 1897.
glim (n.) Look up glim at
in 18c. slang, "a light, candle, lantern" (1700); in 19c. slang "an eye" (1820), probably a back-formation from glimmer (n.) or in some cases glimpse (n.). Related: Glims.
glimmer (v.) Look up glimmer at
late 14c., "to shine brightly;" early 15c., "to shine dimly," perhaps from or related to Middle Dutch glimmen, Middle Low German glimmern, from an extended (frequentative?) form of Proto-Germanic *glim-, root of Old English glæm "brightness" (see gleam (n.)). Sense shifted 15c. to "shine faintly." Compare Dutch glimmeren, German glimmeren "to shine dimly." Related: Glimmered; glimmering.