Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
August 2nd, 2016
Episode 604 of 900 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 2, 2016 is: glower \GLOUR\ verb : to look or stare with sullen annoyance or anger Examples: Kelly glowered at me after I sided with Brenda in their dispute about the chores. "Outside the subway stop, hegloweredfor each photo, then bade each of his fans farewell with a stately handshake. He never spoke a word." — Steven Borowiec, The Orlando (Florida) Sentinel, 1 May 2016 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."