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From Middle English glory, glorie, from Old French glorie (glory), from Latin glōria (glory, fame, renown, praise, ambition, boasting). Doublet of gloria.



glory (countable and uncountable, plural glories)

  1. Great beauty and splendor.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter V, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071:
      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.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, London: William Ponsonbie, Book 2, Canto 1, p. 197,[1]
      In this faire wize they traueild long yfere,
      Through many hard assayes, which did betide;
      Of which he honour still away did beare,
      And spred his glorie through all countries wide.
  3. That quality in a person or thing which secures general praise or honour.
  4. Worship or praise.
  5. (meteorology, optics) An optical phenomenon, consisting of concentric rings and somewhat similar to a rainbow, caused by sunlight or moonlight interacting with the water droplets that compose mist or clouds, centered on the antisolar or antilunar point.
    Synonym: anticorona
  6. Victory; success.
    • 2012 May 13, Alistair Magowan, “Sunderland 0-1 Man Utd”, in BBC Sport[3]:
      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 shine from beings that are specially holy. 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.
    • 1854, Charles Dickens, Hard Times, Chapter 13,[4]
      Seen across the dim candle with his moistened eyes, she looked as if she had a glory shining round her head.
  8. (theology) The manifestation of the presence of God as perceived by humans in Abrahamic religions.
  9. (obsolete) Pride; boastfulness; arrogance.
    • c. 1624, George Chapman (translator), The Crowne of all Homers Workes Batrachomyomachia or the Battaile of Frogs and Mise, His Hymn’s and Epigrams, London: John Bill, “A Hymne to Venus,” p. 106,[5]
      [] But if thou declare
      The Secrets, truth; and art so mad to dare
      (In glory of thy fortunes) to approue,
      That rich-crownd Venus, mixt with thee in loue;
      Ioue (fir’d with my aspersion, so dispred)
      Will, with a wreakefull lightning, dart thee dead.


Related terms[edit]


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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.


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of glorie