January 24th, 2021

words 6
  • sallymn

Sunday Word: Gloaming


period between sunset and full night; dusk


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, You Deserve a Good Lunch, New York Times, March 2020)

For a time, the cardinal intermittently pierced the dark silence of the gloaming with its calls, but then went silent.(Philip Chard, A cardinal's song, or a spiritual experience?, Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, July 2018)

At length, in the first gloaming of the night, we heard a trumpet sound, and looking back from among the heather, saw the troop beginning to collect. (Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped)

And that song elderly relatives used to sing so much...


If 'gloaming' makes you think of tartans and bagpipes, well lads and lasses, you've got a good ear and a good eye; we picked up 'gloaming' from the Scottish dialects of English back in the Middle Ages. The roots of the word trace to the Old English word for twilight, glōm, which is akin to glōwan, an Old English verb meaning 'to glow.' In the early 1800s, English speakers looked to Scotland again and borrowed the now-archaic verb gloam, meaning 'to become twilight' or 'to grow dark.' (Merriam-Webster)

Old English glomung "twilight, the fall of evening," found but once (glossing Latin crepusculum), and formed (probably on model of æfning "evening") from glom "twilight," which is related to glowan "to glow" (hence "glow of sunrise or sunset"), from Proto-Germanic glo-. Fell from currency except in Yorkshire dialect, but preserved in Scotland and reintroduced by Burns and other Scottish writers after 1785. (Online Etymology Dictionary)