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glow·​er ˈglau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce glower (audio)
ˈglō(-ə)r How to pronounce glower (audio)
glowered; glowering; glowers

intransitive verb

: to look or stare with sullen annoyance or anger
glowered at the noisy children in the library


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: a sullen brooding look of annoyance or anger

Did you know?

Do words of uncertain origin make you scowl? If so, glower may put a frown on your face because only part of its history can be validated. The well-established part of its story leads us to Scotland, where glower (or glowren, to use the older Scottish form of the word) has been used since the late Middle Ages. Originally, the word meant simply "to look intently" or "to stare in amazement," but by the late 1700s, glowering stares were being associated with anger instead of astonishment. Beyond that, however, the history of the word is murky. The most we can say is that glower is a distant relative of Middle Low German glūren, which means "to be overcast," and of Middle Dutch gloeren, meaning "to leer."

Example Sentences

Verb The librarian glowered at us when she heard us laughing. baseball fans glowering at their TVs as they watched their favorite team lose
Recent Examples on the Web
The defendant appeared to glower at the sergeant, who is positioned at the Colleton County Courthouse each morning to help transport the inmate. Fox News, 30 Jan. 2023 Indeed, there’s some teenage angst visible in Altu — on the website, the models glower while slouching in suburban bedrooms and on streets — but there is also a knowing confidence. Diana Tsui, New York Times, 4 Jan. 2022 Glowing red eyes glower from beneath a spiked mask of deep aubergine, a lethal spike slicing up from the snout like a gargantuan Japanese horned beetle. Seija Rankin,, 18 June 2020 The actor has displayed a surprising comic flair on numerous occasions, but his glum, glowering performance here leaves a central void. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Apr. 2020 Finally, the waiter, a big man with burly arms and a white apron, leaned over the counter and, propped up on his knuckles, glowered at the young man. Azi Paybarah, New York Times, 25 Mar. 2020 And even when von Sydow glowered, as many of his roles required him to do, the expansiveness of his spirit always showed through. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 9 Mar. 2020 Meanwhile, friends stopped calling; wives accustomed to a comfortable lifestyle glowered and complained; children shrank away in confusion. Helen Epstein, The New York Review of Books, 10 Mar. 2020 Meanwhile, our critical eyes see the front end as assertive but not glowering madly. Jim Resnick, Ars Technica, 25 Feb. 2020
Bajestani, a convincing Everyman with a charismatic glower, expertly suggests the monster — and the petulant man-child — seething inside the loving, prayerful family man. Mark Olsenstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2022 Attract those who don’t equate a glower with wisdom. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 27 Oct. 2022 The memoir’s title derives from a nickname that Ms. Blair was given in infancy, a reference to a postnatal glower that seemingly wouldn’t quit. Joanne Kaufman, WSJ, 17 May 2022 Is that what my coworkers used to stare at every day in real life — a pinched, ferocious glower? Mirel Zaman,, 26 Apr. 2022 Isabelle Fuhrman infuses Dall with an ambiguous glower of ambition that’s scary and human. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 16 Dec. 2021 The standout action sequence takes place at an underworld social club where all the gangsters wear crisp black suits and glower in front of white rice-paper walls that double as panels in a comic book. Amy Nicholson, Variety, 3 Sep. 2021 The next great glower won’t be found unless someone is willing to look. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 24 Aug. 2021 The husband and father, Markus, is played by the great Mads Mikkelsen, barely recognizable behind a graying beard and lethal glower. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 13 May 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glower.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle English (Scots) glowren; akin to Middle Low German glūren to be overcast, Middle Dutch gloeren to leer

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1715, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of glower was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near glower

Cite this Entry

“Glower.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to stare angrily
glower noun

More from Merriam-Webster on glower

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