the act of a person who gleans.
gleanings, things found or acquired by gleaning.

Origin of gleaning

First recorded in 1400–50, gleaning is from the late Middle English word glenynge. See glean, -ing1



verb (used with object)

to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit.
to gather (grain or the like) after the reapers or regular gatherers.
to learn, discover, or find out, usually little by little or slowly.

verb (used without object)

to collect or gather anything little by little or slowly.
to gather what is left by reapers.

Origin of glean

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

Synonyms for glean Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gleaning

Contemporary Examples of gleaning

  • And after gleaning the data from those races, they “plan to scale up and go big in 2016,” says McKinnon.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The New War on Big Money in Politics

    Eleanor Clift

    September 10, 2014

  • This year they will also make an effort to involve people in the gleaning.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Waste Not, Want Not

    Katie Maloney

    March 13, 2011

  • In the battle against food waste and hunger, the ancient tradition of gleaning is gaining new admirers around America.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Waste Not, Want Not

    Katie Maloney

    March 13, 2011

Historical Examples of gleaning

  • In the fragrance of the blossom of the limes the bees are gleaning a luscious harvest.

  • We must study it as a whole, gleaning rich and varied sheaves as we go.

    The Lowest Rung

    Mary Cholmondeley

  • Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abi-ezer?

    Familiar Quotations

    John Bartlett

  • But the most important harvest, after gleaning for frumenty, was the blackberries.

    Sons and Lovers

    David Herbert Lawrence

  • Let us be content if we succeed in gleaning a few grains of truth.

    The Mason-bees

    J. Henri Fabre

British Dictionary definitions for gleaning



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

Word Origin for glean

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 gleaning



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper