verb (used without object)
- to squint or look with one eye.
- a squint.
- an imperfect eye, especially one with a cast.
- great merriment or delight, often caused by someone else’s misfortune
- a type of song originating in 18th-century England, sung by three or more unaccompanied voicesCompare madrigal (def. 1)
Old English gliu, gliw “entertainment, mirth, jest, play, sport,” presumably from a Proto-Germanic *gleujam but absent in other Germanic languages except for the rare Old Norse gly “joy;” probably related to glad. A poetry word in Old English and Middle English, obsolete c.1500-c.1700, it somehow found its way back to currency late 18c. In Old English, an entertainer was a gleuman (female gleo-mægden). Glee club (1814) is from the secondary sense of “unaccompanied part-song” (1650s) as a form of musical entertainment.