noun (1)
\ ˈgläs How to pronounce gloss (audio) , ˈglȯs\

Definition of gloss

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1 : a surface luster or brightness : shine
2a : a deceptively attractive appearance selfishness that had a gloss of humanitarianism about it
b : bright often superficial attractiveness show-biz gloss
3 : a transparent cosmetic preparation for adding shine and usually color to the lips


verb (1)
glossed; glossing; glosses

Definition of gloss (Entry 2 of 5)

transitive verb

1a : 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 alcohol— Marston 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-on— John Israel
2 : to give a gloss to


noun (2)

Definition of gloss (Entry 3 of 5)

1a : 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)
2a : glossary
b : an interlinear translation
c : a continuous commentary accompanying a text


verb (2)
glossed; glossing; glosses

Definition of gloss (Entry 4 of 5)

transitive verb

1a : to provide a gloss for : explain, define
b : interpret
2 : to dispose of by false or perverse interpretation trying to gloss away the irrationalities of the universe— Irwin Edman
variants: or glosso-

Definition of gloss- (Entry 5 of 5)

1 : tongue glossitis
2 : language glossolalia

First Known Use of gloss

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

History and Etymology for gloss

Noun (1)

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

Noun (2)

alteration of gloze, from Middle English glose, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin glosa, glossa, from Greek glōssa, glōtta tongue, language, obscure word; akin to Greek glōchis projecting point

Combining form

Latin, from Greek glōss-, glōsso-, from glōssa

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glory pea






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Time Traveler for gloss

The first known use of gloss was in 1538

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More Definitions for gloss


\ ˈgläs How to pronounce gloss (audio) , ˈglȯs\

Kids Definition of gloss

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : brightness from a smooth surface : sheen
2 : a falsely attractive surface appearance


glossed; glossing

Kids Definition of gloss (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to shine the surface of
2 : to explain as if unimportant He glossed over a mistake.

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More from Merriam-Webster on gloss

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gloss

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gloss

Spanish Central: Translation of gloss

Nglish: Translation of gloss for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gloss for Arabic Speakers

Comments on gloss

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