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  • IPA(key): /ɡlɪb/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪb

Etymology 1[edit]

A shortening of either English glibbery (slippery) or its source, Low German glibberig, glibberich (slippery) / Dutch glibberig (slippery).


glib (comparative glibber, superlative glibbest)

  1. Having a ready flow of words but lacking thought or understanding; superficial; shallow.
  2. (dated) Smooth or slippery.
    a sheet of glib ice
  3. Artfully persuasive but insincere in nature; smooth-talking, honey-tongued, silver-tongued.
    a glib tongue; a glib speech
Derived terms[edit]


glib (third-person singular simple present glibs, present participle glibbing, simple past and past participle glibbed)

  1. (transitive) To make glib.
    • 1628, Joseph Hal, “Christian Liberty Laid Forth,” in The Works of the Right Reverend Father in God, Joseph Hall, D.D., Volume V, London: Williams & Smith, 1808, p. 366, [1]
      There is a drunken liberty of the Tongue; which, being once glibbed with intoxicating liquor, runs wild through heaven and earth; and spares neither him that is God above, nor those which are called gods on earth.
    • 1671, John Milton, “The First Book”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: [] J. M[acock] for John Starkey [], OCLC 228732398, lines 371–376, page 21:
      And, when to all his Angels he propos'd / To draw the proud king Ahab into fraud, / That he might fall in Ramoth, they demurring, / I undertook that office, and the tongues / Of all his flattering Prophets glibb'd with lyes / To his destruction, as I had in charge.
    • 1730, Edward Strother, Dr. Radcliffe’s Practical Dispensatory, London: C. Rivington, p. 342, [2]
      They are good internally in Fits of the Stone in the Kidneys, by glibbing the Ureters, and making even a large Stone pass with ease []
    • 1944, Emily Carr, The House of All Sorts, “Gran’s Battle,” [3]
      We were having one of our bitterest cold snaps. Wind due north, shrieking over stiff land; two feet of snow, all substances glibbed with ice and granite-hard.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Irish glib.


glib (plural glibs)

  1. (historical) A mass of matted hair worn down over the eyes, formerly worn in Ireland.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, IV.8:
      Whom when she saw in wretched weedes disguiz'd, / With heary glib deform'd and meiger face, / Like ghost late risen from his grave agryz'd, / She knew him not […].
    • 1633, Edmund Spenser, A Vewe of the Present State of Irelande  [], Dublin: [] Sir James Ware; reprinted as A View of the State of Ireland [], Dublin: [] the Society of Stationers, [] Hibernian Press,  [] By John Morrison, 1809:
      The Irish have, from the Scythians, mantles and long glibs, which is a thick curled bush of hair hanging down over their eyes, and monstrously disguising them.
    • 1829, Robert Southey, Sir Thomas More, or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society
      Their wild costume of the glib and mantle.
    • 1855, Charles Kingsley, Westward Ho! [[s:Westward Ho!/Chapter {{{1}}}|Chapter {{{1}}}]]
      a dozen of his ruffians at his heels, each with his glib over his ugly face, and his skene in his hand

Etymology 3[edit]

Compare Old English and dialect lib to castrate, geld, Danish dialect live, Low German and Old Dutch lubben.


glib (third-person singular simple present glibs, present participle glibbing, simple past and past participle glibbed)

  1. (obsolete) To castrate; to geld; to emasculate.
    • 1623: William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, Act II Scene 1
      Fourteen they shall not see
      To bring false generations. They are co-heirs;
      And I had rather glib myself than they
      Should not produce fair issue.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for glib in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)



From Proto-Slavic *glibъ.



glȋb m (Cyrillic spelling гли̑б)

  1. mud, mire