• glower •
glaw-êr • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive
Meaning: To stare menacingly (at), to glare (at) intensively.
Notes: This verb is intransitive, which means it may not be used with a direct object (you can't glower anyone); rather, you must use the preposition at with it, to glower at someone. At often indicates aggressive action toward: "to run to" simply indicates direction but "to run at" implies an attack. The same is true of "to fly at", "to throw at", and "to glower at".
In Play: Glowering is generally used when we are displeased at something that we cannot control but must control our tempers: "You don't have to glower like that, mom, just because I dropped one bite of spaghetti on my new pants!" In the motion picture world glowering is known as "the slow burn," an expression of barely contained fury with the eyes focused on the person at fault.
Word History: Today's word may well be an old blend of of glow in the sense of a hot coal glowing + glare under the influence of glore "to glow, to stare with eyes wide open". It more probably is a variant pronunciation of glore "to stare intently (at)", an old word probably borrowed from a Norwegian dialect. The basic root here, ghol- (with an [o] that often trades places with the [l]) shows up in many Indo-European languages referring to things that shine or burn. Evidence indicates that English gold, found in most Germanic languages, comes from the same source. Gh(o)l- is probably related to gol- "hot coal", which made it to English as coal. It is the figurative sense of burning with anger that came to rest on glower.
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