\ ˈglēn \
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.

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Other words from glean

gleanable \ˈglē-nə-bəl \ 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
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Recent Examples on the Web

At the entrance are Nike’s latest products, gleaned from what the company thinks could be popular. Ronald D. White,, "Nike knows what Angelenos like to buy. Its new data-driven store will stock those products," 12 July 2018 But the lawsuit paints a picture gleaned from police reports after the shooting. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "Arizona couple files lawsuit against Las Vegas hotel where mass shooting took place," 28 June 2018 The appeals panel took particular issue with the company basing its claims of success on internal studies gleaned from surveys of its patients. New York Times, "‘Brain Performance’ Firm DeVos Invested in Is Hit for Misleading Claims," 26 June 2018 Throughout the day, volunteers gleaned citrus trees as well as cleaned, sorted and packed the citrus to be donated to Feeding San Diego and the San Diego Food Bank to feed needy San Diego County residents. Linda Mcintosh,, "Volunteers glean fruit to donate to food banks," 25 June 2018 As for the guests’ data, they are stored in the Westworld equivalent of the Forbidden Section in Hogwarts’ library, the code laid out in books ready for Dolores to peruse and glean the knowledge and failings of humanity., "Westworld Season 2 Finale Recap: A Whole Lotta Ben Barnes," 25 June 2018 The Free Press reported in January that the FBI gleaned from the 2016 conversations that Anders was being coached by Trooper Jay Morningstar on how to get MSP officials to simply hire Anders and Fiore, rather than going through a bid process. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Records: State Police captain's friendship with towing boss under investigation," 19 June 2018 Thus, here are six players who make sense for the Bulls and project possibly to be on the board at No. 22, with comments gleaned from conversations with scouts, executives and league talent evaluators. K.c. Johnson,, "Winging it: Here are draft possibilities for the Bulls at No. 22," 19 June 2018 Siegel says scientists will glean significant data from the mission. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Is Stepping Into the Twilight Zone," 19 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.

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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

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Statistics for glean

Last Updated

24 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for glean

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

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More Definitions for glean



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


\ ˈglēn \
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

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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

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to make amends

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