gloam·​ing ˈglō-miŋ How to pronounce gloaming (audio)

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If The Gloaming were a Stephen King thriller, the climax would undoubtedly take place at the crepuscular hour. But despite its ties to darkness, the origins of gloaming are less than shadowy. Originally used in Scottish dialects of English, the word traces back to the Old English glōm, meaning “twilight,” which shares an ancestor with the Old English glōwan, meaning “to glow.” In the early 1800s, English speakers looked to Scotland again and borrowed the now-archaic verb gloam, meaning “to become dusk” or “to grow dark.”

Example Sentences

lovers would often retreat to the gloaming of the park's many secluded recesses to steal a kiss with the gloaming came the familiar call of the whip-poor-will
Recent Examples on the Web So imagine everyone’s delight when Bennifer reemerged from the gloaming after Lopez split with fiance Alex Rodriguez. Travis M. Andrews, Washington Post, 17 July 2022 The game down on the field seems to be played in the gloaming. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Jan. 2022 Tony Kemp hit an eighth-inning, two-run homer in the gloaming at the Oakland Coliseum Sunday to give the A’s a 3-1 win over the Yankees in a game that might wind up being the biggest win of the season for the A’s. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 29 Aug. 2021 The bar shares an appetizer menu with the restaurant; in the gloaming, the seafood towers sparkle. The New Yorker, 6 Aug. 2021 Queens in the gloaming, the sky a smear of pinks and purples. Dan Piepenbring, The New Yorker, 25 Nov. 2020 There were sourdough waffles to start the day and tuna sandwiches for lunch, a few hours of everyone reading novels in separate corners before a long solitary walk in the gloaming, accompanied by gloved waves across generally empty streets. Sam Sifton, New York Times, 30 Mar. 2020 Ivanka Trump tweeted the hashtag #TogetherApart with a photo — apparently years-old — of herself playing with her children in some kind of indoor fort, in the gloaming of some plush parlor. Dan Zak, Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2020 For now, Nadal has a 24-15 edge in head-to-head matches, and Federer has a 2-1 edge at Wimbledon, having defeated Nadal in the 2006 and 2007 finals before losing in the gloaming in 2008. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, 10 July 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gloaming.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English (Scots) gloming, from Old English glōming, from glōm twilight; akin to Old English glōwan to glow

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gloaming was before the 12th century


Dictionary Entries Near gloaming

Cite this Entry

“Gloaming.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


gloam·​ing ˈglō-miŋ How to pronounce gloaming (audio)
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