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[glee] /gli/
open delight or pleasure; exultant joy; exultation.
an unaccompanied part song for three or more voices, popular especially in the 18th century.
before 900; Middle English; Old English glēo; cognate with Old Norse glȳ; akin to glow
1. merriment, jollity, hilarity, mirth, joviality, gaiety. See mirth.


[glee] /gli/ Scot. and North England
verb (used without object)
to squint or look with one eye.
a squint.
an imperfect eye, especially one with a cast.
1250-1300; Middle English glien, gleen; perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse gljā to shine Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for glee
  • He's wearing a rather smug smile although there's no glee or pride in it.
  • However, the team can barely contain its glee over pictures of two other stars.
  • And there seems almost to be glee in the way people spread it.
  • And both have recently experienced technical milestones that made researchers squeal with glee.
  • But the rest of the world's aluminium producers are hardly rubbing their hands with glee.
  • In the common television room, where sports fans gathered to watch a game, he wielded his device with secretive glee.
  • But glee turned to glum this week as markets retreated around the globe.
  • But the subject is prompting more controversy than glee.
  • But there were hints even amid the glee that the truth was murkier.
  • Then everyone will take great glee in disproving your results and cite you at every opportunity.
British Dictionary definitions for glee


great merriment or delight, often caused by someone else's misfortune
a type of song originating in 18th-century England, sung by three or more unaccompanied voices Compare madrigal (sense 1)
Word Origin
Old English gléo; related to Old Norse glӯ
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for glee

Old English gliu, gliw "entertainment, mirth, jest, play, sport," presumably from a Proto-Germanic *gleujam but absent in other Germanic languages except for the rare Old Norse gly "joy;" probably related to glad. A poetry word in Old English and Middle English, obsolete c.1500-c.1700, it somehow found its way back to currency late 18c. In Old English, an entertainer was a gleuman (female gleo-mægden). Glee club (1814) is from the secondary sense of "unaccompanied part-song" (1650s) as a form of musical entertainment.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for glee

(from Old English gleo: "music" or "entertainment," used in this sense in Beowulf), vocal composition for three or more unaccompanied solo male voices, including a countertenor. It consists of several short sections of contrasting character or mood, each ending in a full close, or cadence, and its text is often concerned with eating and drinking. In style it is homophonic-i.e., based on chords rather than on interwoven melodies. Although the first composer to use the term for a musical work was John Playford (1652), the glee flourished from about 1740 to about 1830. By the late 18th century, glees were also composed for mixed voices (male and female). The term is also loosely applied to various vocal compositions of the 17th-19th centuries that do not conform to these characteristics-e.g., the instrumentally accompanied part-songs by Henry Bishop

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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