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[gluhm] /glʌm/
adjective, glummer, glummest.
sullenly or silently gloomy; dejected.
Origin of glum
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English; variant of gloom
Related forms
glumly, adverb
glumness, noun
moody, sulky; despondent, melancholy. Glum, morose, sullen, dour, surly all are adjectives describing a gloomy, unsociable attitude. Glum describes a depressed, spiritless condition or manner, usually temporary rather than habitual: a glum shrug of the shoulders; a glum, hopeless look in his eye. Morose, which adds to glum a sense of bitterness, implies a habitual and pervasive gloominess: a sour, morose manner; morose withdrawal from human contact. Sullen usually implies reluctance or refusal to speak accompanied by glowering looks expressing anger or a sense of injury: a sullen manner, silence, look. Dour refers to a stern and forbidding aspect, stony and unresponsive: dour rejection of friendly overtures. Surly implies gruffness of speech and manner, usually accompanied by an air of injury and ill temper: a surly reply. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for glum
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We may believe that Mark learned to be "glum" when he saw the Lariat approaching with his sheaf of rhymes.

  • But, as she still retained her glum expression, My-Boots again did the gallant.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • Bjorn sees that, and hewed at once the head off glum's spear.

  • When Laurent entered the shop, he found her glum, her nose longer, her lips thinner.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • But "puts" went to 68 cents at the close of the "privileges" and Pickett was glum.

    Chiquita, an American Novel Merrill Tileston
British Dictionary definitions for glum


adjective glummer, glummest
silent or sullen, as from gloom
Derived Forms
glumly, adverb
glumness, noun
Word Origin
C16: variant of gloom
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 glum

1540s, "sullen, frowning," from Middle English gloumen (v.) "become dark" (c.1300), later gloumben "look gloomy or sullen" (late 14c.); see gloom. Related: Glumly; glumness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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