glory hole

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  1. the quarters on a ship that are occupied by the stewards or stokers.
  2. lazaretto (def. 3).
  3. any locker or enclosed space for loose gear.
Glassmaking. an auxiliary furnace for reheating glass that has cooled during offhand blowing.
Mining. drawhole.
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Origin of glory hole

First recorded in 1830–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What else does glory hole mean?

A glory hole is sexual slang for a slot in a wall in which a man inserts his penis for sexual stimulation by someone on the other side.

Content warning: the following content includes references to sexual activity.

Where did the term glory hole come from?

In the 1820s, a glory hole was a slang term for a “junk drawer” (no, not that kind of junk). Other 19th-century uses include small compartments on ships and other small rooms along with some still-current specialized uses in glass-blowing, engineering, and mining. The glory, here, apparently goes back to a Scots word meaning “muddy.”

In the 1930s, we see glory hole again as a slang term for a “junk drawer”—and yes, that kind of junk, as in the penis, with glory hole as a vulgar nickname for “vagina.” Glory, here, apparently alludes to sexual pleasure and hole, well, you can figure that one out. This glory hole led to a different sexual sense defined in the 1949 underground Gay Girls Guide as: “Phallic size hole in partition between toilet booths. Sometimes used also for a mere peep-hole.” The term may draw on an earlier use of glory hole as slang for a “gay bar” in the 1920s.

In the mid-1900s, glory holes were so cut into bathroom stalls in order to facilitate homosexual liaisons. With the rise of the adult-film industry in the 1970s, glory holes were also found in specially-fitted booths in adult-video shops. The internet has since proliferated glory hole as a pornography genre, especially for heterosexual sex acts.

How to use the term glory hole

As noted, there is fairly sizeable subgenre of pornography dedicated to glory holes and their vaginal variations. The term is often the subject of many jokes.

Given its sexual content, it’s best to avoid glory hole in polite company.


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use glory hole in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for glory hole

glory hole

informal a room, cupboard, or other storage space that contains an untidy and miscellaneous collection of objects
nautical another term for lazaretto (def. 1)
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