gloss

1 of 4

noun (1)

ˈgläs How to pronounce gloss (audio)
ˈglȯs
1
: a surface luster or brightness : shine
2
a
: a deceptively attractive appearance
selfishness that had a gloss of humanitarianism about it
b
: bright often superficial attractiveness
show-biz gloss
3
: a viscous usually tinted cosmetic preparation used for adding shine and usually color to the lips : lip gloss

gloss

2 of 4

verb (1)

glossed; glossing; glosses

transitive verb

1
a
: to mask the true nature of : give a deceptively attractive appearance to
used with over
the misery was general, where not glossed over by liberal application of alcoholMarston Bates
b
: to deal with (a subject or problem) too lightly or not at all
used with over
glosses over scholarly controversies rather than confronting them head-onJohn Israel
2
: to give a gloss to

gloss

3 of 4

noun (2)

1
a
: a brief explanation (as in the margin or between the lines of a text) of a difficult or obscure word or expression
b
: a false and often willfully misleading interpretation (as of a text)
2
a
b
: an interlinear translation
c
: a continuous commentary accompanying a text
3

gloss

4 of 4

verb (2)

glossed; glossing; glosses

transitive verb

1
a
: to provide a gloss for : explain, define
b
2
: to dispose of by false or perverse interpretation
trying to gloss away the irrationalities of the universeIrwin Edman

Did you know?

The verb gloss, referring to a brief explanation, comes from Greek glôssa, meaning "tongue," "language," or "obscure word." There is also the familiar phrase gloss over, meaning "to deal with (something) too lightly or not at all." That gloss is related to Germanic glosen, "to glow or shine," and comes from the noun gloss, which in English can refer to a shine on a surface or to a superficial attractiveness that is easily dismissed.

Examples of gloss in a Sentence

Noun (1) used a computer to give her astrological predictions the gloss of real science the surface has such a high gloss, you can see your face reflected in it Verb (1) I don't want to gloss over her misbehavior, but keep in mind that she's been under a lot of stress lately this biographer tends to gloss over his subject's many character flaws
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Drivers can also select a gloss black or carbon fiber lower-body trim with either Lime Green or Trophy Silver Accents, as well as Aston Martin Racing Green or Lime Green brake calipers. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 8 July 2024 As the new 2024 McLaren GT pulled into my driveway, the striking color combination of the Belize Blue body cloaked by a shining gloss black roof immediately put a grin on my face. William Curtis, Travel + Leisure, 3 July 2024
Verb
At just over 5 feet tall, Colón-Zayas seems smaller seated at this tabletop that’s glossed with a photo of Puerto Rican baseball icon Roberto Clemente. Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2024 Then, glossing appointments will help to maintain the color. Catherine Santino, Peoplemag, 26 Dec. 2023 See all Example Sentences for gloss 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gloss.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

akin to Middle High German glosen to glow, shine; akin to Old English geolu yellow

Noun (2)

alteration (by conformation to its Latin and Greek source) of glose, gloze, going back to Middle English glose, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin glōsa, glōssa "tongue, language, commentary on a word or passage, compilation of such commentaries" (Latin, "collection of unfamiliar words"), borrowed from Greek glôssa, (Attic) glôtta, (Ionic) glássa "tongue, language, obscure word requiring explanation," derivative in *-i̯ā from the stem of a presumed root noun *glṓks "point, something pointed," perhaps going back to an Indo-European nominative *glōgh-s, genitive *gl̥gh-ós; from the same base Greek glôches "awns of a head of grain," glōchī́s "projecting point (as the end of a yoke fastening or the barb of an arrow)"

Note: Despite its Indo-European look, this set of Greek words has no definite congeners in other Indo-European languages; kinship with Slavic *glogŭ "hawthorn" (Czech hloh, Polish głóg, Serbian & Croatian glȍg; Russian glog "dogwood") is uncertain.

Verb (2)

alteration (after gloss entry 3) of glose, gloze, going back to Middle English glosen, borrowed from Anglo-French gloser, borrowed from Medieval Latin glōsāre, glōssāre, verbal derivative of glōsa, glōssa "commentary on a word or passage, compilation of such commentaries" — more at gloss entry 3

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of gloss was in 1538

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Dictionary Entries Near gloss

Cite this Entry

“Gloss.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gloss. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

gloss

1 of 2 noun
ˈgläs How to pronounce gloss (audio)
ˈglȯs
1
: brightness from a smooth surface : luster, sheen
2
: a falsely attractive appearance
a thin gloss of good manners

gloss

2 of 2 verb
1
: to give a gloss to
2
: to smooth over : make falsely attractive
gloss over one's mistakes

More from Merriam-Webster on gloss

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