Also called glebe land. Chiefly British. the cultivable land owned by a parish church or ecclesiastical benefice.
Archaic. soil; field.

Origin of glebe

1275–1325; Middle English < Latin glēba, glaeba clod of earth
Related formsglebe·less, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for glebe

Historical Examples of glebe

  • The Great North Road should have been bordered all its length with glebe.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • This field extended to the limits of the glebe, which was enclosed on that side by a privet-hedge.

  • Add to all these changes, that the garden was weeded, and the glebe was regularly laboured.

    St. Ronan's Well

    Sir Walter Scott

  • If the glebe land is proportionate, it may yield two potatoes.

  • There was much to do out of the house also, what with the cows and the garden and the glebe.

    Allison Bain

    Margaret Murray Robertson

British Dictionary definitions for glebe



British land granted to a clergyman as part of his benefice
poetic land, esp when regarded as the source of growing things

Word Origin for glebe

C14: from Latin glaeba
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 glebe

c.1300, from Old French glebe, from Latin gleba, glaeba "clod, lump of earth," from PIE *glebh- "to roll into a ball" (cf. Latin globus "sphere;" Old English clyppan "to embrace;" Lithuanian glebys "armful," globti "to embrace, support"). Earliest English sense is "land forming a clergyman's benefice," on notion of soil of the earth as source of vegetable products.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper