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From Middle English glory, glorie, from Old French glorie (glory), from Latin glōria (glory, fame, renown, praise, ambition, boasting), from Proto-Indo-European *glōs-, *gals-, *galos- (voice, cry). Cognate with Old English ceallian (to cry out, shout, call). More at call.



glory (countable and uncountable, plural glories)

  1. Great beauty or splendour, that is so overwhelming it is considered powerful.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 5, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      He was thinking; but the glory of the song, the swell from the great organ, the clustered lights, […], the height and vastness of this noble fane, its antiquity and its strength—all these things seemed to have their part as causes of the thrilling emotion that accompanied his thoughts.
    • 2014 June 14, “It's a gas”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8891:
      One of the hidden glories of Victorian engineering is proper drains. Isolating a city’s effluent and shipping it away in underground sewers has probably saved more lives than any medical procedure except vaccination.
  2. Honour, admiration, or distinction, accorded by common consent to a person or thing; high reputation; renown.
    • Edmund Spenser (c.1552–1599)
      Spread his glory through all countries wide.
  3. That quality in a person or thing which secures general praise or honour.
    • Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)
      Think it no glory to swell in tyranny.
    • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
      Jewels lose their glory if neglected.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 4, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Then he commenced to talk, really talk. and inside of two flaps of a herring's fin he had me mesmerized, like Eben Holt's boy at the town hall show. He talked about the ills of humanity, and the glories of health and Nature and service and land knows what all.
  4. Worship or praise.
    • Bible, Luke ii. 14
      Glory to God in the highest.
  5. An optical phenomenon caused by water droplets, consisting of concentric rings and somewhat similar to a rainbow.
  6. Victory; success.
    • 2012 May 13, Alistair Magowan, “Sunderland 0-1 Man Utd”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      But, with United fans in celebratory mood as it appeared their team might snatch glory, they faced an anxious wait as City equalised in stoppage time.
  7. An emanation of light supposed to proceed from beings of peculiar sanctity. It is represented in art by rays of gold, or the like, proceeding from the head or body, or by a disk, or a mere line.
  8. (obsolete) Pride; boastfulness; arrogance.

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


glory (third-person singular simple present glories, present participle glorying, simple past and past participle gloried)

  1. To exult with joy; to rejoice.
    • 1753, James Hervey, "A Visitation Sermon: Preached at Northampton, May 10, 1753":
      In what the Apostle did glory?—He gloried in a Cross. ... [T]o the Ear of a Galatian, it conveyed much the same Meaning, as if the Apostle had gloried in a Halter; gloried in the Gallows; gloried in a Gibbet.
    • 1891: Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles
      He says he glories in what happened, and that good may be done indirectly; but I wish he would not so wear himself out now he is getting old, and would leave such pigs to their wallowing.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Lectures 4 & 5:
      When the passion is extreme, suffering may actually be gloried in, provided it be for the ideal cause, death may lose its sting, the grave its victory.
  2. To boast; to be proud.
    • 1881, Revised Version, 2 Corinthians 7:14:
      For if in anything I have gloried to him on your behalf, I was not put to shame; but as we spake all things to you in truth, so our glorying also, which I made before Titus, was found to be truth.
  3. (archaic, poetic) To shine radiantly.
    • 1859–85, Alfred Tennyson, Idylls of the King, "The Last Tournament":
      Down in a casement sat,
      A low sea-sunset glorying round her hair
      And glossy-throated grace, Isolt the Queen.