Gaw, WA past glent; Pe past 3 sg. glente

‘move quickly aside, deviate; glanced, flinched, sprang; glinted, shone; looked’ (Modern English glent)


Frequently derived from ON (thus OED, MED; see also TGD and GDS), as the range of ME senses is well represented in Scandinavian analogues, as e.g. Norw gletta, glenta, glanta ‘to slide, fail, err’ (str.), gletta ‘to peep; tease verbally’ (wk.), Sw dial glänta, glätta, glinta ‘to slip, slide’ (str.), glänta, glätta ‘to gleam, shine’ (wk.) and probably from the same source OIcel glettask ‘to banter, rail against one’, while cognates in WGmc are hard to come by, though there is OHG glanz (adj.) ‘bright, clear’ and glenzen ‘to shine, glitter’ (MHG glinzen). It seems simplest to posit a PGmc root *glent-, originally indicating quick motion; some of the forms are best derived from a wk. v. *glant-j-an- built on the pret. sg. stem of the str. v. (found adjectivally in OHG). An unrecorded OE cognate *glentan (< *glantjan-) is a plausible alternative to loan from Norse.

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

glettask ‘to banter, rail against one’
(ONP gletta (2) (vb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far glett, gletta, Icel gletta, Norw gletta, glette, glenta, glanta, Sw dial glänta, glätta, glinta 

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



Fairly widespread in ME (inc. Chaucer), though cited in MED esp. frequently from N and E texts; various MnE dial, but esp. N.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 82, 172, 476, etc.; Pe 70, 671, 1001, etc. ; Cl 218, Erk 241; WA 4817


MED glenten (v.) , OED glent (v.) , HTOED , EDD glent (v.1 and sb.), Dance glent (a) (v.), Bj. 241, de Vries glett, Mag. gletta, Torp NnEO gletta (str. vb.), gletta (wk. vb. 1 and 2), Falk-Torp glente, glette (II), Hellquist glänta (1 and 2), Orel *ʒlentēnan