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[gleen] /glin/
verb (used with object)
to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit.
to gather (grain or the like) after the reapers or regular gatherers.
to learn, discover, or find out, usually little by little or slowly.
verb (used without object)
to collect or gather anything little by little or slowly.
to gather what is left by reapers.
Origin of glean
1350-1400; Middle English glenen < Old French glener < Late Latin glennāreCeltic
Related forms
gleanable, adjective
gleaner, noun
ungleaned, adjective
3. garner, deduce, infer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for glean
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I am an old man, and my mind goes haltingly, yet that is what I seem to glean from your rambling screed.

    The Seeker Harry Leon Wilson
  • First came the harvesters; and then those who were content to glean where the others had left.

    The Balladists John Geddie
  • I take comfort in the philosophy which I glean from the top of a London motor-bus.

    Humanly Speaking Samuel McChord Crothers
  • It is out of what I glean from individuals I make up my generalities.'

    Lord Kilgobbin Charles Lever
  • Ten years ago it would have been possible to glean reminiscences from many, who are now silent.

    The Life of Mazzini Bolton King
British Dictionary definitions for glean


to gather (something) slowly and carefully in small pieces: to glean information from the newspapers
to gather (the useful remnants of a crop) from the field after harvesting
Derived Forms
gleanable, adjective
gleaner, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French glener, from Late Latin glennāre, probably of Celtic origin
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 glean

early 14c., from Old French glener (Modern French glaner) "to glean," from Late Latin glennare "make a collection," perhaps from Gaulish (cf. Old Irish do-glinn "he collects, gathers," Celt. glan "clean, pure"). Figurative sense was earlier in English than the literal one of "gather grain left by the reapers" (late 14c.). Related: Gleaned; gleaning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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glean in the Bible

The corners of fields were not to be reaped, and the sheaf accidentally left behind was not to be fetched away, according to the law of Moses (Lev. 19:9; 23:22; Deut. 24:21). They were to be left for the poor to glean. Similar laws were given regarding vineyards and oliveyards. (Comp. Ruth 2:2.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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