[glan-sing, glahn-]


striking obliquely and bouncing off at an angle: a glancing blow.
brief and indirect: glancing references to his dubious past.

Origin of glancing

First recorded in 1485–95; glance1 + -ing2
Related formsglanc·ing·ly, adverb


[glans, glahns]

verb (used without object), glanced, glanc·ing.

to look quickly or briefly.
to gleam or flash: a silver brooch glancing in the sunlight.
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.
to allude briefly to a topic or subject in passing (usually followed by at).

verb (used with object), glanced, glanc·ing. Archaic.

to cast a glance or brief look at; catch a glimpse of.
to cast or reflect, as a gleam.
to throw, hit, kick, shoot, etc. (something) so that it glances off a surface or object.


a quick or brief look.
a gleam or flash of light, especially reflected light.
a deflected movement or course; an oblique rebound.
a passing reference or allusion; insinuation.
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.
Cricket. a stroke in which the batsman deflects the ball with the bat, as to leg.

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

2. glisten, scintillate. See flash. 3. reflect, ricochet. 9. glitter. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for glancing

peer, peek, flash, scan, skip, bounce, dart, skim, kiss, carom, glimpse, browse, see, gaze, peep, view, shine, glisten, twinkle, glint

Examples from the Web for glancing

Contemporary Examples of glancing

Historical Examples of glancing

British Dictionary definitions for glancing




(intr) to look hastily or briefly
(intr; foll by over, through, etc) to look over brieflyto glance through a report
(intr) to reflect, glint, or gleamthe sun glanced on the water
(intr usually foll by off) to depart (from an object struck) at an oblique anglethe arrow glanced off the tree
(tr) to strike at an oblique anglethe arrow glanced the tree


a hasty or brief look; peep
at a glance from one's first look; immediately
a flash or glint of light; gleam
the act or an instance of an object glancing or glancing off another
a brief allusion or reference
cricket a stroke in which the ball is deflected off the bat to the leg side; glide
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




any mineral having a metallic lustre, esp a simple sulphidecopper glance

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 glancing



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



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with glancing


see at first blush (glance).

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