Other forms: glosses; glossed; glossing

A gloss is a shiny finish on an object. It’s also an explanation about a word or phrase. Right now, you’re reading a gloss on the word gloss.

Gloss has a number of meanings, so it’s a good idea to read our gloss on this word. Gloss can refer to the shine or polish on a smooth surface. A gloss can also be a definition or explanation. A book may have glosses that explain what unusual or technical terms mean. Sometimes gloss has a negative sense: if you leave out important information when discussing something, you could be accused of glossing over those details.

Definitions of gloss
  1. noun
    the property of being smooth and shiny
    synonyms: burnish, glossiness, polish
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    French polish
    the glaze produced by repeated applications of French polish shellac
    a glossy finish on a fabric
    a sheen or gloss on a surface, especially resulting from use or age
    type of:
    a texture without roughness; smooth to the touch
    effulgence, radiance, radiancy, refulgence, refulgency, shine
    the quality of being bright and sending out rays of light
  2. verb
    give a shine or gloss to, usually by rubbing
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    type of:
    polish, shine, smooth, smoothen
    make (a surface) shine
  3. verb
    provide an interlinear translation of a word or phrase
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    type of:
    interpret, render, translate
    restate (words) from one language into another language
  4. verb
    provide interlinear explanations for words or phrases
    synonyms: annotate, comment
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    type of:
    interpret, rede
    give an interpretation or explanation to
  5. verb
    give a deceptive explanation or excuse for
    synonyms: color, colour
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    type of:
    apologise, apologize, excuse, justify, rationalise, rationalize
    defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning
  6. noun
    an explanation or definition of an obscure word in a text
    synonyms: rubric
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    type of:
    account, explanation
    a statement that makes something comprehensible by describing the relevant structure or operation or circumstances etc.
  7. noun
    an alphabetical list of technical terms in some specialized field of knowledge; usually published as an appendix to a text on that field
    synonyms: glossary
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    type of:
    a reference book containing words (usually with their meanings)
  8. noun
    an outward or token appearance or form that is deliberately misleading
    “he tried to give his falsehood the gloss of moral sanction”
    synonyms: color, colour, semblance, veneer
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    color of law, colour of law
    a mere semblance of legal right; something done with the apparent authority of law but actually in contravention of law
    an insubstantial or vague semblance
    face value
    the apparent worth as opposed to the real worth
    guise, pretence, pretense, pretext
    an artful or simulated semblance
    camouflage, disguise
    an outward semblance that misrepresents the true nature of something
    the appearance of truth; the quality of seeming to be true
    type of:
    appearance, visual aspect
    outward or visible aspect of a person or thing
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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘gloss'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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