• synonyms


[glans, glahns]
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verb (used without object), glanced, glanc·ing.
  1. to look quickly or briefly.
  2. to gleam or flash: a silver brooch glancing in the sunlight.
  3. to strike a surface or object obliquely, especially so as to bounce off at an angle (often followed by off): The arrow glanced off his shield.
  4. to allude briefly to a topic or subject in passing (usually followed by at).
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verb (used with object), glanced, glanc·ing. Archaic.
  1. to cast a glance or brief look at; catch a glimpse of.
  2. to cast or reflect, as a gleam.
  3. to throw, hit, kick, shoot, etc. (something) so that it glances off a surface or object.
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  1. a quick or brief look.
  2. a gleam or flash of light, especially reflected light.
  3. a deflected movement or course; an oblique rebound.
  4. a passing reference or allusion; insinuation.
  5. Digital Technology. information on an electronic screen that can be understood quickly or at a glance: Get news and weather glances on your phone. Tap anywhere on a glance to open the app.
  6. Cricket. a stroke in which the batsman deflects the ball with the bat, as to leg.
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Origin of glance

1400–50; late Middle English glancen (v.), nasalized variant (perhaps influenced by obsolete glent; see glint) of Middle English glacen to strike a glancing blow < Old French glacier to slip, slide < Latin glaciāre to freeze. See glacé
Can be confusedglance glimpse

Synonyms for glance

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2. glisten, scintillate. See flash. 3. reflect, ricochet. 9. glitter.


[glans, glahns]
  1. any of various minerals having a luster that indicates a metallic nature.
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Origin of glance

First recorded in 1795–1805, glance is from the German word Glanz brightness, luster
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for glance

peek, glimpse, glimmer, peer, flash, scan, skip, bounce, dart, skim, kiss, carom, swivel, eye, look, slant, gander, lamp, sight, peep

Examples from the Web for glance

Contemporary Examples of glance

Historical Examples of glance

  • "He is a good son to me," said Mrs. Rushton, with a glance of affection.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • She did not glance at him, but held her cigarette in silence and refused to light it.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Then she fluttered a glance at him in which there was a gleam of mockery.


    William J. Locke

  • Someone, as he crossed the room, whirled to follow him with a glance.

  • At him, when I could glance at him, with disgust little short of affrightment.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

British Dictionary definitions for glance


  1. (intr) to look hastily or briefly
  2. (intr; foll by over, through, etc) to look over brieflyto glance through a report
  3. (intr) to reflect, glint, or gleamthe sun glanced on the water
  4. (intr usually foll by off) to depart (from an object struck) at an oblique anglethe arrow glanced off the tree
  5. (tr) to strike at an oblique anglethe arrow glanced the tree
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  1. a hasty or brief look; peep
  2. at a glance from one's first look; immediately
  3. a flash or glint of light; gleam
  4. the act or an instance of an object glancing or glancing off another
  5. a brief allusion or reference
  6. cricket a stroke in which the ball is deflected off the bat to the leg side; glide
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Derived Formsglancing, adverbglancingly, adverb

Word Origin for glance

C15: modification of glacen to strike obliquely, from Old French glacier to slide (see glacis); compare Middle English glenten to make a rapid sideways movement, glint


Glance is sometimes wrongly used where glimpse is meant: he caught a glimpse (not glance) of her making her way through the crowd


  1. any mineral having a metallic lustre, esp a simple sulphidecopper glance
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Word Origin for glance

C19: from German Glanz brightness, lustre
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 glance


mid-15c., of weapons, from glacen "to graze, strike a glancing blow" (c.1300), from Old French glacier "to slip, make slippery," from glace "ice" (see glacial). Sense of "look quickly" (first recorded 1580s) probably was influenced in form and meaning by Middle English glenten "look askance" (see glint). Related: Glanced; glancing.

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c.1500, "sudden movement producing a flash," from glance (v.). Meaning "brief or hurried look" is from 1590s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with glance


see at first blush (glance).

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.