\ ˈgläm How to pronounce glom (audio) \
glommed; glomming

Definition of glom

glom on to
: to grab hold of : appropriate to oneself glommed on to her ideas

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Synonyms & Antonyms for glom



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It's a classic case of glomming: Americans seized on glaum (a term from Scots dialect that basically means "grab") and appropriated it as our own, changing it to glom in the process. Glom first meant "steal" (as in the purse-snatching, robber kind of stealing), but over time that meaning got stretched. Today, glom often figuratively extends that original "steal" sense. A busy professional might glom a weekend getaway, for example. Glom also appears frequently in the phrase glom on to, which can mean "to appropriate for one's own use" ("glom on to another's idea"); "to grab hold of" ("glom on to the last cookie"); or "to latch on to" ("glom on to an opinion" or "glom on to an influential friend").

Examples of glom in a Sentence

the manager glommed the shoplifter just as she was about to bolt out of the store
Recent Examples on the Web As long as there’s something there to glom on to—almost any sociocultural raw material will do—the takes will begin to fly immediately. Nathaniel Friedman, The New Republic, "Moments Without Truth," 21 Oct. 2019 Researchers soon found that some of the supercharged nuclear particles would glom on to the atoms in the targets and create bigger, heavier elements. Neima Jahromi, The New Yorker, "The Histories Hidden in the Periodic Table," 27 Dec. 2019 Many inflation hawks glommed onto his revision of the traditional anti-Fed argument. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "The Apple Card’s Algorithm Goes Both Ways on Women’s Credit Limits," 13 Nov. 2019 Ideally, each phage in a cocktail will glom on to a different receptor, so if bacteria evolve resistance to one virus in the mixture, other viruses will keep up the attack. Charles Schmidt, Scientific American, "Phage Therapy Could Beat Drug-Resistant Illnesses," 1 Nov. 2019 The best way to prevent things from glomming up is to be hyper-vigilant while cooking. Jesse Sparks, Bon Appétit, "How To Cook Perfectly Slurpable Soba Noodles," 30 Oct. 2019 Young made an Instagram account for Pumpkin shortly after her rescue in December 2014, and fans quickly glommed on for a daily dose of raccoon hijinks. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Pumpkin, the most popular raccoon on Instagram, has died," 30 Oct. 2019 Tiny bits and pieces may glom onto bigger bits and pieces, forming tar balls. Washington Post, "Thousands of barrels of oil are contaminating Brazil’s pristine coastline. Authorities don’t know where it’s coming from.," 22 Oct. 2019 And given the eagerness with which Trump and his cronies have glommed onto some of these lines of attack, most especially with Biden and Ukraine, there’s little reason to think that Giuliani’s efforts across Eastern Europe will stop anytime soon. Casey Michel, The New Republic, "Rudy Giuliani’s Year of Living Dangerously," 26 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glom.' 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 glom

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for glom

alteration of English dialect glaum to grab

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Glom.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for glom


How to pronounce glom (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of glom

US, informal : to take or get (something)

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experienced by way of someone else

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