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[glos-uh-ree, glaw-suh-] /ˈglɒs ə ri, ˈglɔ sə-/
noun, plural glossaries.
a list of terms in a special subject, field, or area of usage, with accompanying definitions.
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 forms
[glo-sair-ee-uh l, glaw-] /glɒˈsɛər i əl, glɔ-/ (Show IPA),
glossarially, adverb
glossarist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for glossary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The orthography of his glossary differs considerably from the orthography of his text.

    Beowulf Unknown
  • 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.

    Hamlet William Shakespeare
British Dictionary definitions for glossary


noun (pl) -ries
an alphabetical list of terms peculiar to a field of knowledge with definitions or explanations Sometimes called gloss
Derived Forms
glossarial (ɡlɒˈsɛərɪəl) adjective
glossarially, adverb
glossarist, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin glossārium; see gloss²
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
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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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