gloss

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

Definition of gloss

 (Entry 1 of 4)

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

gloss

verb (1)
glossed; glossing; glosses

Definition of gloss (Entry 2 of 4)

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

gloss

noun (2)

Definition of gloss (Entry 3 of 4)

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

gloss

verb (2)
glossed; glossing; glosses

Definition of gloss (Entry 4 of 4)

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

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.

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 (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

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Cite this Entry

“Gloss.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gloss. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for gloss

gloss

noun
\ 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

gloss

verb
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.

More from Merriam-Webster on gloss

Nglish: Translation of gloss for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gloss for Arabic Speakers

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