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Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Feb 05, 2007 12:37 am

• gloat •

Pronunciation: glowt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive (no direct object)

Meaning: 1. To take immense malicious satisfaction in something (used with the prepositions at and over). 2. To gaze at something with intense satisfaction (with the prepositions on, over or upon).

Notes: Although we don't encounter this sense any more in the US, the Oxford English Dictionary still lists meaning No. 2 above. We include it because it is the bridge between the sense of the word most frequently used today and the word's previous meaning of looking (see Word History). Someone who gloats is a gloater engaged in the process of gloating. Gloating may also be used as an adjective (the gloating father) and an adverb if properly suffixed (to tell of his wife's success gloatingly).

In Play: Gloating is a malicious though not evil sort of pride: "Farnsworth gloated over receiving the promotion instead of Snodgrass until he discovered that it came with no raise." Use of the second meaning is slowly diminishing, which is why we bring it up: "Natalie Cladd gloated on her new $4000 gown several minutes before putting it on." We hope it will continue to be used in our conversations.

Word History: When you gloat you shine, perhaps overshine, from some accomplishment so it is not surprising that today's Good Word originates in the Proto-Indo-European word for shine, ghol-/ghel-. The Os and Es in this type of root often get lost along the way, in this case resulting in ghl-. This form has a superfluity of great-grandchildren in all the English words beginning on GL referring to light, such as gleam, glitter, glisten, glare, glimmer, and glow. The forms with O and E became gold and yellow in English, Gold and gelb "yellow" in German. Over the years this root also took on various senses related to "to look" in the Germanic languages. It turns up as glotzen "to stare, gawk" in German and in some Swedish dialects it appears as glotta "to peep". English probably borrowed one of these words for today's Good Word though the chain of evidence is broken.
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Postby Perry » Mon Feb 05, 2007 12:15 pm

The second sense of the word (combined with the word history), brings the word glower to mind.
Last edited by Perry on Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Do you use the second meaning?

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:24 am

Pierre Laberge who has been with us since we started alphaDictionary wrote this this morning:

"Am I an antique? A Neanderthal? A freak of nature?

(I know how it is tempting for you to say yes!)

BUT: I was born in 1956, and am only 51. I Lived in Canada till I was 6, moved to Phx. Arizona, lived there till I was 17, and came back to Canada. We had to, my dad had cancer. AND: I don't consider myself the best educate of folk, but.....

You say: "Notes: Although we don't encounter this sense any more in the US, the 'Oxford English Dictionary' still lists meaning No. 2 above. [2. To gaze at something with intense satisfaction (with the prepositions 'on', 'over' or 'upon').]"

But.... I have long known about meaning #2 and still use it often. Am I doing something wrong? True, I am in Canada now, but I think I learned the word in 6th or 7th grade, while in Arizona.

Why do people no longer gloat over small treasures, Gollum like? (Lord of the Rings) Have we all become better mannered?"

I had heard this meaning only in British novels, maybe films. The OED gives ONLY this sense and AHD, like most US dictionaries, omits it.

Are any of you North Americans familiar with it, i.e. use it or hear it with any regularity?
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Postby Bailey » Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:32 pm

I guess, if anyone is interested in MY opinion I'd usually say gloat over, second meaning, I've told people that they tendancy to gloat is their worst feature, as well. In fact, in general I use that meaning for gloat exclusively.

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Postby Ferrus » Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:15 pm

The second meaning is one I have encountered in novels but never really took into my active vocabulary.

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Postby tcward » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:13 pm

I don't remember ever running across definition 2, but the meaning is immediately clear in such contexts.

By the way, would this share the same PIE root as ghost...?

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