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verb (used with object)
  1. to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit.
  2. to gather (grain or the like) after the reapers or regular gatherers.
  3. to learn, discover, or find out, usually little by little or slowly.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to collect or gather anything little by little or slowly.
  2. to gather what is left by reapers.
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Origin of glean

1350–1400; Middle English glenen < Old French glener < Late Latin glennāreCeltic
Related formsglean·a·ble, adjectiveglean·er, nounun·gleaned, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gleaner

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • We will here give a copy of what happened in 1732, and which we inserted in the Gleaner (Glaneur), No.

    The Phantom World

    Augustin Calmet

  • Sheard, of the Gleaner, pressed forward and grasped both his hands.

  • It is the last 'scoop' that I have to offer to the Gleaner, but it is the biggest of all!

  • The Gleaner assured its many readers that such was indeed the case.

  • If he could once introduce his gleaner in Venice, he should be a made man.

    Ragged Lady, Complete

    William Dean Howells

British Dictionary definitions for gleaner


  1. to gather (something) slowly and carefully in small piecesto glean information from the newspapers
  2. to gather (the useful remnants of a crop) from the field after harvesting
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Derived Formsgleanable, adjectivegleaner, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old French glener, from Late Latin glennāre, probably of Celtic origin
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 gleaner


mid-15c., agent noun from glean (v.).

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early 14c., from Old French glener (Modern French glaner) "to glean," from Late Latin glennare "make a collection," perhaps from Gaulish (cf. Old Irish do-glinn "he collects, gathers," Celt. glan "clean, pure"). Figurative sense was earlier in English than the literal one of "gather grain left by the reapers" (late 14c.). Related: Gleaned; gleaning.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper