Printable Version
Pronunciation: glahm Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. (Transitive) To grab, snatch, take, or seize something not belonging to you, as to glom some cash. 2. (Intransitive) Used in the same sense with the preposition onto, for instance to glom onto some cash. 3. To stare at, to ogle, to fix your attention on or attach yourself to someone or something.

Notes: Today's Good Word is a normal English word, completely assimilated into English, though, as we will see, its origins are not purely Germanic. The noun and adjective for this word are glomming, also the present participle. The past tense and past participle are glommed. Don't forget to double the M whenever you add any ending save -s: gloms.

In Play: This term means first and foremost the acquisition of an object by questionable means: "Where did you glom the tickets for tonight's concert?" This word can also mean to ogle and, recently, to attach yourself to someone: "Ivan Odor glommed onto Anne Chovee as soon as she stepped into the room and monopolized her until the end of the party."

Word History: This word was a lexical gift from the US underworld. It was an element of underworld slang that entered the language spelled glahm, pretty much as it is pronounced today (see Pronunciation). It apparently was glommed from Scottish, which has a word glaum meaning "to snatch". The Scots came by it from Gaelic glam "to grab voraciously, to devour". At this point the trail grows very cold. The sense of "stare" or "ogle" developed metaphorically from the sense of grabbing onto something with our eyes. (I just glommed onto Patricia Castellanos's suggestion of today's Good Word, which she submitted in 2010. She was then in Montevideo, Uruguay. I don't know where she is now, let alone whether she will forgive me for the delay. I recently purchased a new computer that automatically brought over my files from the old one. It found more than 5000 e-mails I thought I'd lost.)

Dr. Goodword,

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