Intermediate+ Word of the Day: glare

glare (noun, verb) /glɛr/ LISTEN

Glare is a a very harsh, bright, dazzling light or, coming from someone, a fierce or angry stare. Dazzling public attention can also be called glare. As a verb, to glare means to shine with or reflect a very bright and dazzling light and also to stare with a fierce or angry look.

Example sentences

  • Karen squinted in the glare of the late afternoon sun.
  • Judging by Robert's glare, he wasn't happy.
  • The family had to get used to the glare of publicity after they won the lottery.
  • Lights glared from the ceiling.
  • Sheila glared at Clive when he made a joke about her.

In pop culture

Listen to American band Grizzly Bear singing “While You Wait for the Others” here:

Listen out for the lyric “The perfect glare we all fall through.”

Additional information

As a noun, glare is only countable in the sense of a fierce or angry look.

Did you know?

The related adjective glaring can be used to describe a bright light or a person who is looking fierce or angry, but it can also mean ‘obvious.’ For example, you might say that someone had made a “glaring error.”

Other forms

glaring (adjective), glaringly (adverb)


Glare, meaning ‘to shine brightly,’ dates back to the mid- to late 13th century, in the form of the Middle English verb glaren. Linguists are unsure whether it came into English from the Middle Dutch glaren (to gleam), or it is merely related, but either way, it can be traced back to the Proto-Germanic root glaz– and the Proto-Indo-European root ghel– (to shine). Glare is related to the Middle Low German glaren (to gleam), as well as the Sanskrit harih (yellow) and hiranyam (gold), the Old Persian daraniya– (gold), the Greek khloros (greenish-yellow color), the Latin helvus (yellowish), the Old Church Slavonic zlutu, Polish żółty and Russian zeltyj (yellow), the Old Irish glass, Welsh and Breton glas (‘green’ or ‘gray, blue), the German gelb and Old Norse gulr (yellow) and the Gothic gulþ (gold), as well as English words such as choral, chloride, chlorine, chlorophyll, cholera, cholesterol, gall, gild, glad, glance, glass, glaze, gleam, glee, glide, glimmer, glimpse, glint, glisten, glitch, glitter, gloat, gloss, glow, gold, melancholy and yellow. The sense ‘to stare fiercely’ was first used in the late 14th century. The noun, meaning ‘bright light’ or ‘dazzling glitter’ comes from the verb, and dates back to around the year 1400. From the 17th century, it has been particularly used to refer to light reflected off a surface. The sense ‘fierce look’ dates back to the mid-17th century.

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