v. (pres. 3 sg.)


(Modern English ?glaver)


The etymology of this word is speculative at best: MED concludes it is probably Celtic, citing a range of Ir and We comparanda, incl. Ir glafaire 'a babbler',  glafarnac 'noise', Sc Gael glafar 'noisy, chattering', glafarnach, We glafr 'flattery', glafru 'to flatter' (OED dismisses this as probably < English) and glaforiwr 'a driveler', but offers no explicit etymology. It also compares MnE dial glaver 'to chatter, babble, talk heedlessly or foolishly' (see EDD). OED raises the possibility (and Osgood seems to imply something similar by labelling the v. 'obscure' but then offering a cp. to ON glaðr) that rather than coming from Celtic this glaver is a derivative of a N dial adj. glave, glafe 'smooth, slippery (fig.) smooth of tongue) polite' which could be 'an altered adoption of Old Norse glað-r'' (cp. OIcel glaðr (adj.) 'glad' from PGmc *glaða-; cp. Burg *glads 'glad, shining', OE glæd 'bright, shining', OFris gled 'smooth', MLG glat 'shining' OHG glat 'clear, light').

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

cp. glaðr (adj.) 'glad'
(ONP )

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



MED and OED cite a handful of attestations (several of which, but by no means all, are from the N/EM and/or alliterative contexts), the earliest of which is c1350 Of alle þe witti (Add 45896). EDD cites instances of the MnE adj. glave only from the N, the n. glaver from the N and Sc, but its instances of the v. glaver are widely distributed.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Pe 688


MED glāveren (v.), OED glaver (v.) , HTOED , EDD glaver (v. and sb.1), EDD glave (adj.), de Vries glaðr, Orel *ʒlaðaz, Krooen *glada-