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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 glumness
Historical Examples
  • He was struck by Horace's glumness, and in his frank way openly chaffed the boy about it.

    Tongues of Conscience Robert Smythe Hichens
  • But 'twas not the quiet of glumness that enveloped them, for they showed in every step an elasticity of spirits, as of muscles.

  • But he looked very glum, and the glumness stuck to him even after he had dressed and had descended to dinner.

  • All this sounded so much like business, that Mona sat up, all her glumness falling from her.

    The Making of Mona Mabel Quiller-Couch
  • Her own nickering complaints of Norah's "glumness" sank into dumb anxiety.

  • The old woman's face wore an expression of glumness wholly new to her, and Mr. Graeme's mouth tightened.

    Mam' Lyddy's Recognition Thomas Nelson Page
  • If the corners of the mouth are allowed to droop the glumness and depression is likely to grow deeper.

    Psychotherapy James J. Walsh
  • Their faces were glum––and the glumness remained even after they had washed and eaten ravenously.

    Rim o' the World B. M. Bower
  • The glumness had gone from his face, and when he saw me he signed for me to stoop down.

    Mud and Khaki Vernon Bartlett
  • It was a random shot, but it told against Bernique's glumness.

    Sally of Missouri R. E. Young
British Dictionary definitions for glumness


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 glumness



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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