glean

verb
\ ˈglēn How to pronounce glean (audio) \
gleaned; gleaning; gleans

Definition of glean

intransitive verb

1 : to gather grain or other produce left by reapers
2 : to gather information or material bit by bit

transitive verb

1a : to pick up after a reaper
b : to strip of the leavings of reapers glean a field
2a : to gather (something, such as information) bit by bit can glean secrets from his hard drive
b : to pick over in search of relevant material gleaning old files for information
3 : find out The police used old-fashioned detective work to glean his whereabouts.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from glean

gleanable \ ˈglē-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce gleanable (audio) \ adjective
gleaner noun

The Grainy History of Glean

Glean comes from Middle English glenen, which traces to Anglo-French glener, meaning "to glean." The French borrowed their word from Late Latin glennare, which also means "to glean" and is itself of Celtic origin. Both the grain-gathering sense and the collecting-bit-by-bit senses of our glean date back at least to the 14th century. Over the years, and especially in the 20th and 21st centuries, glean has also come to be used frequently with the meaning "to find out, learn, ascertain." This sense has been criticized by folks who think glean should always imply the drudgery involved in the literal grain-gathering sense, but it is well established and perfectly valid.

Examples of glean in a Sentence

She gleaned her data from various studies. He has a collection of antique tools gleaned from flea markets and garage sales. They spent days gleaning the files for information. They spent hours gleaning in the wheat fields. gleaning stray ears of corn
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But Nirenberg gleaned reinforcements in the runoff, softening the unions’ impact. Dylan Mcguinness, ExpressNews.com, "Outside groups spend more than $500k on San Antonio’s municipal runoffs," 6 June 2019 Officials in Tennessee also provided fewer incentives and concessions to Amazon compared with the two HQ2 cities, which means Nashville could glean more from the jobs created. Esther Fung, WSJ, "Nashville’s Runner-Up Prize From Amazon Looks Like a Winner to Property Investors," 20 Nov. 2018 Those were among the few positives the Padres could glean from Monday’s 2-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Dennis Lin, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Cardinals' Martinez shuts out Padres," 4 Sep. 2017 Using the data gleaned from each passenger interaction, United is applying AI and machine learning to streamline its customers' experience based on their data—and tuning offers to match their profiles. Alyson Behr, Ars Technica, "More than an auto-pilot, AI charts its course in aviation," 5 Dec. 2018 Their mission was to live for two years on food grown within the domed habitat to glean information for future biosphere space colonies. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "Not So Fast," 24 Sep. 2018 Efforts to glean Bezos' politics have focused mainly on his donations. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "Why Trump went after Bezos: 2 billionaires but worlds apart," 5 Apr. 2018 Theoretically, these are meant to be local policy experiments, and the data gleaned from them should ostensibly inform public debate on health policy. Clifton Leaf, Fortune, "Brainstorm Health: Armed Guards in Schools, Antidepressants Study, Health Care Demonstration Projects," 22 Feb. 2018 There were multiple shots of Singapore’s gleaning skyline in the documentary; Kim was shown visiting tourist wonders like the Gardens by the Bay. Adam Taylor, BostonGlobe.com, "Documentary shows President Trump saluting North Korean general," 16 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glean.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of glean

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for glean

Middle English glenen, from Anglo-French glener, from Late Latin glennare, of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish doglenn he selects

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about glean

Listen to Our Podcast about glean

Dictionary Entries near glean

gleamer

gleamingly

gleamless

glean

gleanings

gleba

glebe

Statistics for glean

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for glean

The first known use of glean was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for glean

glean

verb

English Language Learners Definition of glean

: to gather or collect (something) in a gradual way
: to search (something) carefully
: to gather grain or other material that is left after the main crop has been gathered

glean

verb
\ ˈglēn How to pronounce glean (audio) \
gleaned; gleaning

Kids Definition of glean

1 : to gather from a field what is left by the harvesters
2 : to gather (as information) little by little with patient effort

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on glean

Spanish Central: Translation of glean

Nglish: Translation of glean for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of glean for Arabic Speakers

Comments on glean

What made you want to look up glean? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!