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[glos-uh-ree, glaw-suh-]
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noun, plural glos·sa·ries.
  1. a list of terms in a special subject, field, or area of usage, with accompanying definitions.
  2. such a list at the back of a book, explaining or defining difficult or unusual words and expressions used in the text.

Origin of glossary

1350–1400; Middle English glossarye < Latin glōssarium difficult word requiring explanation < Greek glōssárion, diminutive of glôssa tongue, language; later taken as a collection of such words, by construing suffix as Latin -ārium -ary; cf. gloss2
Related formsglos·sar·i·al [glo-sair-ee-uh l, glaw-] /glɒˈsɛər i əl, glɔ-/, adjectiveglos·sar·i·al·ly, adverbglos·sa·rist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for glossary

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The orthography of his glossary differs considerably from the orthography of his text.



  • It is given in the Glossary as one of the old names for the moon.


    Benjamin Taylor

  • Consult the new edition of Nares' Glossary, voce Walsingham.

  • These shields are figured in the Glossary of Heraldry, pp. 285, 286.

  • Nares, in his Glossary, says that crants is a German word, and probably Icelandic.


    William Shakespeare

British Dictionary definitions for glossary


noun plural -ries
  1. an alphabetical list of terms peculiar to a field of knowledge with definitions or explanationsSometimes called: gloss
Derived Formsglossarial (ɡlɒˈsɛərɪəl), adjectiveglossarially, adverbglossarist, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Late Latin glossārium; see gloss ²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for glossary


late 14c., from Latin glossarium "collection of glosses," from Greek glossarion, diminutive of glossa "obsolete or foreign word" (see gloss (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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