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

Definition of glower

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

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



Definition of glower (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sullen brooding look of annoyance or anger

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Synonyms & Antonyms for glower

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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."

Examples of glower in a Sentence

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: Verb 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, "'Extraction': Film Review," 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, "Coronavirus in N.Y.C.: The Latest," 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, "For More Than 60 Years, in Roles Great and Small, Actor Max von Sydow Brought Greatness, Humanity and Spirit," 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, "Left Behind," 10 Mar. 2020 Meanwhile, our critical eyes see the front end as assertive but not glowering madly. Jim Resnick, Ars Technica, "The mid-engined Corvette was 60 years in the making—now we’ve driven it," 25 Feb. 2020 And Prospera — the magician is now a woman, played in monotonously glowering style by Synetic co-founder Irina Tsikurishvili — eventually lets her enchanted volume sink into the deluge. Celia Wren, Washington Post, "Synetic’s ‘Tempest’ is splashy but brooding," 8 Oct. 2019 And especially here, in this genteel, leafy village, located midway between Dartmouth College and the towering, glowering mountains of Killington., "This is not your grandfather’s (or grandmother’s) roller derby - The Boston Globe," 4 Oct. 2019 So too did its coach Mark Dantonio, who glowered as his team suffered a third-straight loss by a margin of at least three touchdowns. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Big Ten football power rankings: Michigan rises, Michigan State sinks," 28 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The shooting, with Oswald’s pained grimace and Mr. Leavelle’s stricken glower, was chillingly captured by Robert H. Jackson of The Dallas Times Herald in an iconic photograph that won the Pulitzer Prize the following year. Ralph Blumenthal,, "James R. Leavelle, detective at Lee Harvey Oswald’s side, dies at 99," 30 Aug. 2019 The shooting, with Mr. Oswald’s pained grimace and Detective Leavelle’s stricken glower, was chillingly captured by Robert H. Jackson of The Dallas Times Herald in an iconic photograph that won the Pulitzer Prize the following year. New York Times, "James R. Leavelle, Detective at Lee Harvey Oswald’s Side, Dies at 99," 29 Aug. 2019 In 2017 the number of cars entering America from Canada dipped, even though the Canadian dollar strengthened, a sign that Mr Trump’s glower was putting off some. The Economist, "Foreign policyCanada is feeling lonely, but its place internationally is still strong," 25 July 2019 As Cyclops, Tye Sheridan looks dumbfounded; as Storm, Alexandra Shipp glowers. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Goodbye X-Men—You Flawed, Frustrating Cinematic Revolution," 7 June 2019 Chazz Palminteri plays Patriarca, with his hooded eyes and glower. Amanda Milkovits,, "And now, a film about the other big New England heist," 7 June 2019 But in the next village, the intense glowers begin anew. Christopher Bagley, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Bewitching Time Warp of Transylvania, Romania," 4 May 2018 Meanwhile, the eyes in between are capable of widening in pure glee or narrowing into a coy, sinister glower, depending on what’s asked of them. Caroline Framke, Vox, "Barry is not the Bill Hader comedy you might expect. It’s way more interesting.," 23 Mar. 2018 When Aaron spins Zoey around on the dance floor, Luca glowers in the corner with a bottle of champagne. Ariana Romero,, "Grown-ish Season 1, Episode 12 Recap: "Crew Love"," 22 Mar. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of glower


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1715, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for glower

Verb and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for glower

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for glower

Last Updated

8 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Glower.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for glower


How to pronounce glower (audio) How to pronounce glower (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of glower

: to look at someone or something in an angry way


glow·​er | \ ˈglau̇-ər How to pronounce glower (audio) \
glowered; glowering

Kids Definition of glower

: to stare angrily : scowl

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More from Merriam-Webster on glower

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for glower

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with glower

Spanish Central: Translation of glower

Nglish: Translation of glower for Spanish Speakers

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