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

frown, glare, gloom, lower (also lour), scowl

Antonyms: Verb

beam, grin, smile

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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."

Examples of glower in a Sentence


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

As the torrent of verbiage washed over the hearing room, fellow Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy could only glower at Biden in impotent frustration. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "No Joe!," 10 June 2019 Ellis has a switch that takes him from smiling nice guy to glowering gamer with an intensity that causes teammates to tease him about it — and also steer clear at times. Kevin Acee,, "A.J. Ellis shows what it takes for Padres," 7 July 2018 The railwaymen glowered motionlessly, awaiting strong tea, awaiting death, seeing death before them, not interfering. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Weird Fiction Is Alive," 7 May 2018 The strings raced and darted, the brass glowered gracefully, and the woodwinds — especially the flute section of Tim Day, Linda Lukas and Catherine Payne — contributed to the image of an Arcadian fantasy world. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Symphony program harks back to a visit by Ravel," 20 Apr. 2018 The plot takes a twist or two, but serves mainly as a thread linking shootouts and glowering confrontations, with a brief respite for love. A. O. Scott, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Great Silence,’ a 1968 Spaghetti Western Unchained," 28 Mar. 2018 Perhaps the most conspicuous surprise in Anshel Pfeffer's biography of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's long-serving but little-loved prime minister, who glowers from the cover, is his emergence from these pages as a man of unbending principle. Noga Tarnopolsky,, "'Bibi' is a major biography of Benjamin Netanyahu. Anshel Pfeffer gets to the Israeli leader's core.," 27 Apr. 2018 Trager’s Preysing shows us the glowering man of appetites suppressed beneath the successful-man-of-business mien. Kerry Reid,, "Kokandy stages a jazzy, grand musical farewell in the Berlin-set 'Grand Hotel'," 24 Apr. 2018 But the loudest responses from the Republicans who gathered at a neighborhood grill here to watch the State of the Union speech came when the cameras cut away to glowering Democratic lawmakers in attendance. Julie Bosman, Richard Fausset, Manny Fernandez And Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, "Watching Trump’s Speech: They Cheered. They Groaned. They Ate a Cake.," 31 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The head honcho glowers across the lacquered conference table, violence in his eyes. Rachel Syme, New Republic, "Enlightened Dared Women to Speak Out," 15 Dec. 2017 White glower: White nationalist Richard Spencer is speaking at the University of Florida today, the Orlando Sentinel's Jeff Weiner reports. Dan Sweeney,, "Private schools, public money, little oversight in voucher program," 19 Oct. 2017 Channeling his inner Oliver Reed, Izzard glowers with great panache, conveying the festering frustration of a man tired of waiting for his seemingly immortal mother to move on and hand over the crown. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Victoria & Abdul': Film Review | Venice 2017," 3 Sep. 2017

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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Statistics for glower

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for glower

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

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More Definitions for glower



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with glower

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for glower

Spanish Central: Translation of glower

Nglish: Translation of glower for Spanish Speakers

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showing courage and determination

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