from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To gather grain left behind by reapers.
  • transitive v. To gather (grain) left behind by reapers.
  • transitive v. To collect bit by bit: "records from which historians glean their knowledge” ( Kemp Malone). See Synonyms at reap.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. cleaning; afterbirth
  • v. To harvest grain left behind after the crop has been reaped.
  • v. To gather information in small amounts, with implied difficulty, bit by bit.
  • v. To frugally accumulate resources from low-yield contexts.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A collection made by gleaning.
  • n. Cleaning; afterbirth.
  • intransitive v. To gather stalks or ears of grain left by reapers.
  • intransitive v. To pick up or gather anything by degrees.
  • transitive v. To gather after a reaper; to collect in scattered or fragmentary parcels, as the grain left by a reaper, or grapes left after the gathering.
  • transitive v. To gather from (a field or vineyard) what is left.
  • transitive v. To collect with patient and minute labor; to pick out; to obtain.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To gather after a reaper, or on a reaped field; bring together from a scattered condition, as grain left after the removal of the main crop.
  • Hence To collect in scattered or fragmentary parcels or portions; pick up here and there; gather slowly and assiduously.
  • To gather stalks or ears of grain left by reapers; also, to collect or gather anything in a similar way.
  • n. A handful of corntied together by a gleaner.
  • n. Anything gathered or gleaned.
  • n. A somewhat indefinite unit; a bunch: as, a glean of teazels. [Essex and Gloucestershire, Eng.] A glean of herrings, by a statute of Edward I., is 25.
  • n. The afterbirth, as of a cow or other domestic animal; the cleaning.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. gather, as of natural products


Middle English glenen, from Old French glener, from Late Latin glennāre, probably of Celtic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English glenen, from Anglo-Norman glener, from Late Latin glen(n)ō ("make a collection"), from Gaulish. (Wiktionary)



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  • An old English unit of quantity for herrings, equal to 25 fish.

    November 8, 2007