Definition of glass in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡlɑːs/


1 [mass noun] A hard, brittle substance, typically transparent or translucent, made by fusing sand with soda and lime and cooling rapidly. It is used to make windows, drinking containers, and other articles: the screen is made from glass [as modifier]: a glass door
More example sentences
  • I closed my eyes and leaned against the cool glass window, feeling sick.
  • Silica is one of the basic materials of sand and it forms glass when it fuses.
  • For anyone who does not know, glass is a hard, transparent or translucent brittle material that does not dissolve is not flammable.
1.1A substance similar to glass which has solidified from a molten state without crystallizing: the black volcanic glass makes the beaches sparkle
More example sentences
  • A glass is a substance that is non-crystalline yet almost completely undeformable.
  • Trehalose may also stabilise tissues by trapping them in an immobile sugar glass.
  • They offer chemically inert fluid paths of Teflon, Kel-F, and borosilicate glass.
1.2Glassware: we sell china and glass
More example sentences
  • The firm sells high quality china, glass and collectables.
  • There will also be antique glass, china, furniture and metalware on display.
  • Lesser items, such as old magazines, inexpensive glass and china ware, may just sit in boxes.
glassware, crystal, crystalware
rare vitrics
1.3Greenhouses or cold frames considered collectively: lettuces grown under glass
More example sentences
  • Genetically engineer algae or other plant species to grow well under lunar conditions under filtered glass.
  • Flowers for shows earlier in the year are grown under glass at his address in Thorpe Audlin, Pontefract, but for Chelsea he had them growing in a tunnel.
  • The plants grown under glass were exposed to short treatments with supplementary UV-B.
Image of glass
2A drinking container made from glass: a beer glass
More example sentences
  • First of all, you should always be drinking quality beers out of a glass.
  • I once saw a girl drinking beer from a pint glass with a straw.
  • His picture decorates stickers, cigarette lighters, record sleeves, cups, beer glasses and so on - Che is omnipresent.
2.1The contents of a glass: have a glass of wine
More example sentences
  • Before that fateful day, my partner was content with a glass of orange juice in the morning.
  • Unravelling the small package he brought with him, he tipped its contents into a glass of water.
  • I accompanied my meal with a glass of draught cider for £1.10.
3A lens, or an optical instrument containing a lens or lenses, in particular a monocle or a magnifying lens.
Example sentences
  • This allows you to scrutinize as much of the glass lens elements as possible.
  • Somewhere outside there was a street lamp, it was caught in the glass, repeated, magnified and diminished, countless times.
  • Etta was a very austere widow who wore a little glass lens on a chain around her neck and held it up to peer at Norm and I whenever she visited us.
4chiefly British A mirror: she couldn’t wait to put the dress on and look in the glass
More example sentences
  • When he sat in front of the massive picture window that framed his easel, the glass mirrored his likeness under a mammoth magnolia tree.
mirror, looking glass
4.1 dated A weather glass.
4.2 archaic An hourglass: every hour the ship’s glass was turned


[with object]
1Cover or enclose with glass: the inn has a long gallery, now glassed in
More example sentences
  • This was the entrance to our front porch, which was all glassed in.
  • It has been glassed in and made into an attractive Visitors' Centre.
  • Although the arrow slits in the walls are glassed in and electric bulbs take the place of candlelight, as you ascend the narrow, anti-clockwise staircase, the feeling of a different time is strong.
2(Especially in hunting) scan (one’s surroundings) with binoculars: the first day was spent glassing the rolling hills
More example sentences
  • They stop and pass the binoculars back and forth, glassing the walls.
  • Opening morning found us perched near the top of some Georgia pines, freezing half to death, overlooking a small field where we had glassed a few good bucks during the summer.
  • They were so large I thought at first they were bear tracks, and I spent the rest of the day anxiously glassing the cliffs above.
3British informal Hit (someone) in the face with a beer glass: he glassed the landlord because he’d been chatting to Jo
More example sentences
  • He was convicted of glassing a man in 1991, and on Monday received a mandatory, new-style life sentence for a second offence of wounding with intent.
  • An electrical engineer has escaped a jail sentence for glassing a former friend in the face, but must pay him £750 compensation.
  • An illegal immigrant who glassed a man in a Chippenham nightclub has been remanded in custody by a judge at Swindon Crown Court.



the glass is half-full (or half-empty)

Used to refer to an optimistic (or pessimistic) outlook on life: she remains a person for whom the glass is always half-full, not half-empty I like to think of myself as a glass half-full kind of guy
More example sentences
  • I'm curious from the president's point of view whether the glass is half-empty or half-full.
  • They can choose the glass is half-empty story, the glass is half-full story or they can write a little of both.
  • They can choose the glass is half-empty story, the glass is half-full story or they can write a little of both.

people (who live) in glass houses shouldn't throw stones

proverb You shouldn’t criticize others when you have similar faults of your own.
Example sentences
  • So people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, eh?
  • The shadow environment secretary said: ‘It's all very well criticising the failure of America to sign up to Kyoto, but people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
  • Yes, it's an extremely derogatory term, and not one I would use myself, unless I'm angry of course, and even then I would feel uneasy (people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones).



Pronunciation: /ˈɡlɑːsfʊl/
noun (plural glassfuls)
Example sentences
  • Myself, I left at about 10.30 pm, having already spotted that the last bottle of red wine in the kitchen only had about one glassful left in it.
  • I drink a large glassful of the juice every day and, hey presto, no more ulcers.
  • When I found one I quickly downed a few glassfuls of water within 5 seconds.


Example sentences
  • We walk past block after block of colonial stone buildings with 12-foot doorways and elaborate lintels, grillwork balconies, and shuttered, glassless windows.
  • People leant through the glassless windows watching our browsing.
  • Minutes later, I'm lounging on my bed and gazing through the glassless windows onto a panorama of paradise.


Example sentences
  • The unusually fine clay yielded a porcelain china that was translucent with a glass-like finish.
  • The hilt and crosspiece were made of a dark metal, and a thin wire wrapped around cross-guard, attaching it to the chain, while the blade was made of a clear glass-like substance.
  • Ice froze in the air, crystallized it into glass-like shards.


Old English glæs, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch glas and German Glas.

  • The substance glass goes back to ancient Mesopotamia or Phoenicia (modern Lebanon and Syria). Glasses ‘spectacles’ dates from the mid 18th century, although before that people would use a single glass or ‘an eye glass’. ‘Men seldom make passes / At girls who wear glasses’ is by the American wit Dorothy Parker (1893–1967). The proverb people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, dates from the 17th century. People started complaining of the existence of a glass ceiling, meaning an unofficial barrier to advancement at work, especially for a woman, in the early 1980s. Glaze (Late Middle English), to equip with glass, comes from glass and was first used of eyes, in Shakespeare's Richard II: ‘For Sorrowes eyes glazed with blinding tears, Divides one thing entire to many objects.’ Glare (Middle English) first found in the sense ‘dazzling shine’ may be related.

Words that rhyme with glass

brass, carse, class, coup de grâce, farce, grass, Grasse, impasse, Kars, kick-ass, kvass, Laplace, Maas, Madras, outclass, pass, sparse, stained glass, surpass, upper class, volte-face

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: glass

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