Definition of glass in English:



  • 1A hard, brittle substance, typically transparent or translucent, made by fusing sand with soda, lime, and sometimes other ingredients and cooling rapidly. It is used to make windows, drinking containers, and other articles.

    ‘a piece of glass’
    [as modifier] ‘a glass door’
    • ‘Around 600 car parking spaces are planned for the store, which has been designed using a large amount of glass fronting.’
    • ‘Interior windows and glass in doors allow maximum daylight but were sandblasted for privacy.’
    • ‘Drinks from plastic containers always taste different than those from glass containers.’
    • ‘Marsh samphire, as noted above, is also known as glasswort from its former use in soda glass manufacture.’
    • ‘I closed my eyes and leaned against the cool glass window, feeling sick.’
    • ‘Householders across the district are being urged to take part in a major scheme to boost the amount of glass and cans recycled in Bradford.’
    • ‘Silica is one of the basic materials of sand and it forms glass when it fuses.’
    • ‘The pub's big windows and glass door make it easy to see anyone in the street.’
    • ‘The metal used was a soft soda lime glass, which in inclined to pitting and will give a misleading impression of age.’
    • ‘For anyone who does not know, glass is a hard, transparent or translucent brittle material that does not dissolve is not flammable.’
    • ‘As the amount of glass used in a house increases, the energy efficiency usually decreases.’
    • ‘Once the milk has cooled, pour it into glass containers and refrigerate immediately.’
    • ‘I press my nose against the cool glass of the lobby door, and shade my eyes so I can see past the glare.’
    • ‘Also there was a long wooden table with benches on either side of it and a tall wooden cupboard with glass windows in the doors.’
    • ‘The amount of glass recycled so far amounts to almost ten per cent of the waste produced by local households.’
    • ‘The police had expressed concerns about the amount of glass used in the building and its location near a road that could leave it vulnerable to a car bomb.’
    • ‘Hard materials tend to be very brittle, take glass for instance.’
    • ‘But in this case, the noise was kept down by balancing the amount of glass with drywall.’
    • ‘Soda is one of the most common ores of sodium found in nature and it was used very early in human history to make glass.’
    • ‘Verify that the sliding glass door and all windows are locked and secure.’
    1. 1.1A substance similar to glass that has solidified from a molten state without crystallizing.
      • ‘A glass is a substance that is non-crystalline yet almost completely undeformable.’
      • ‘He suspects thieves may be responsible but he cannot understand what use they would have with the perspex glass.’
      • ‘They offer chemically inert fluid paths of Teflon, Kel-F, and borosilicate glass.’
      • ‘Trehalose may also stabilise tissues by trapping them in an immobile sugar glass.’
  • 2A thing made from, or partly from, glass, in particular.

    1. 2.1A container to drink from.
      ‘a beer glass’
      • ‘In mitigation, he claimed he was so drunk he forgot the glass was in his hand.’
      • ‘Sure, we will all eat from different dishes and drink from different glasses, but we will all be able to agree that the meal is delicious.’
      • ‘Other superstitions hold that by continuing to drink out of a glass after the toast is to dilute that toast.’
      • ‘First of all, you should always be drinking quality beers out of a glass.’
      • ‘I still find it difficult to drink out of pint glasses at home.’
      • ‘His picture decorates stickers, cigarette lighters, record sleeves, cups, beer glasses and so on - Che is omnipresent.’
      • ‘I am so used to using plastic cups everywhere that the drink glasses seemed unmanageably heavy and got very cold from the ice!’
      • ‘The same, I'm told, was true as to proposals that fast-food restaurants use glasses rather than paper cups.’
      • ‘The writer was also extremely enthusiastic about the ‘good selection of wine and very large glasses to drink out of.’’
      • ‘No doubt a great deal of whisky is drunk in New York, but almost all of it, surely, is drunk from whiskey glasses?’
      • ‘She called for pubs and bars to serve all bottled drinks in glasses, to discourage drinkers from leaving the premises with them.’
      • ‘Both parties must then drink until the glass is dry, whether it contains alcohol or not.’
      • ‘We all lift our glasses and drink the wine down, afraid of what grandma will do if we don't follow through.’
      • ‘I once saw a girl drinking beer from a pint glass with a straw.’
      • ‘It has an important collection of 18th century drinking glasses, a tranquil walled garden and a garden tearoom.’
      • ‘You pour the wine in a glass, and you drink it as you consume your meal - no tricks, no secrets.’
    2. 2.2Glassware.
      • ‘There will also be antique glass, china, furniture and metalware on display.’
      • ‘He said his father, a china and glass merchant, was not particularly pleased when he announced he wanted to be an actor.’
      • ‘Not just for the traditionalist either; some of the modern china and glass designs are stunning.’
      • ‘Somehow, it seemed that one of their salesmen was selling far more glass than any of the other members of the sales force.’
      • ‘His hard work paid off when the antiques company sold him its entire collection of glass.’
      • ‘In addition, vinegar can be used to remove price labels from glass, wood, and china.’
      • ‘Lesser items, such as old magazines, inexpensive glass and china ware, may just sit in boxes.’
      • ‘Their caravan is warm and homely, with glass and china neatly displayed.’
      • ‘The firm sells high quality china, glass and collectables.’
      • ‘It sells ceramics, glass, silver, paper and pretty much anything that takes her fancy.’
      • ‘Also up for grabs are china, glass and pottery by leading names Wedgwood, Foley, Staffordshire.’
      • ‘Some composites such as precious opal protected between layers of quartz or glass are sold as such.’
      • ‘Books went well, as did glass and china ware on the White Elephant stall.’
      glassware, crystal, crystalware
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3Greenhouses or cold frames considered collectively.
      • ‘Genetically engineer algae or other plant species to grow well under lunar conditions under filtered glass.’
      • ‘Keep pots in a sunny position but watch that leaves of plants under glass don't get sunburned.’
      • ‘Under glass you also need to reduce the amount of watering you do and increase the heat a little.’
      • ‘The variety is even grown under glass in climates as inimical as the Dutch and British to provide grapes for the fruit bowl.’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 2.4British A mirror.
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
    5. 2.5archaic An hourglass.
  • 3A lens, or an optical instrument containing a lens or lenses, in particular a monocle or a magnifying lens.

    • ‘A similarly shaped boundary for a glass lens in air was deduced by both Descartes and Huygens.’
    • ‘An air bubble in water that is shaped like a normal glass lens would have roughly the opposite effect of the glass lens.’
    • ‘For shore watching 10 or 12 magnification glasses are better and a telescope on a tripod can be very useful.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Pinhole photos look relatively sharp but nothing like the quality produced by a fine glass lens.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Feeling around inside he spots the glass lens of a video camera and pulls it out.’
  • 4The liquid or amount of liquid contained in a glass; a glassful.

    ‘a glass of lemonade’
    ‘I'll have another glass, please’
    • ‘All you need is a hammock, a banana boat sundae, a daiquiri glass and one of those cute little umbrellas.’
    • ‘Try to drink at least four glasses daily and if possible a lot more if deserved.’
    • ‘I drank a couple of glasses of Champagne which went straight to my head.’
    • ‘Drinking a couple of glasses creates a feeling of euphoria and a heightening of the senses, at once stimulating and relaxing.’
    • ‘While running a marathon will make you lose a lot more water from your body than normal, it is important to drink about eight glasses of fluids every day.’
    • ‘I eat chocolate cake, drink too many glasses of wine and party too late.’
    • ‘Scientists have discovered that drinking a glass or two of wine a day can actually be beneficial.’
    • ‘After a heavy workout, drink several glasses of water, milk, and juice over a period of a few hours.’
    • ‘After a week, still in pain, I saw my GP who said that I must rest with my feet higher than my thighs, drink twelve glasses of water a day and eat a lot of oranges.’
    • ‘By serving wine by the glass, restaurants open a new realm for wine drinkers.’
    • ‘One York solider threw down the drinking gauntlet believing the popular misconception that Americans only drink small glasses of weak, fizzy beer.’
    • ‘On the empty streets of the Old City, some of the shopkeepers spend the daylight hours playing backgammon and drinking glasses of Arabic coffee.’
    • ‘Alcohol consumption should be limited up to two small drinks (one drink = one ounce whisky) or two glasses of beer or wine.’
    • ‘He drank three glasses of beer and drove his electric taxi on the pavement in Bond Street.’
    • ‘He replied that he had drunk ‘two small glasses of beer’ while watching a World Cup football game much earlier in the day.’
    • ‘A local woman who never drinks had several glasses of fruit punch at a party and finished up driving at 64 miles an hour with well over twice the legal limit for alcohol.’
    • ‘Downing another glass of the frothy liquid he stood shakily prepared to leave when someone called his name.’
    • ‘Tyler grabbed a champagne glass and walked through the crowd, out to the garden.’
    • ‘She poured another glass of the blue liquid and handed it to him.’
    • ‘Intitially, she claimed a passenger had been driving, but later admitted it had been her at the wheel and she had drunk four large glasses of wine.’
    • ‘Drink at least eight glasses of water, herbal teas and unsweetened fruit juice.’


  • 1Cover or enclose with glass.

    ‘the inn has a long balcony, now glassed in’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These stations are in the main all glassed in, and spotlessly clean.’
    • ‘The concourses are glassed in and the station waiting area is quite large and also glassy.’
    • ‘It has been glassed in and made into an attractive Visitors' Centre.’
    • ‘He followed her down a long hallway to a glassed in boardroom where two men stood waiting.’
    • ‘Exterior cast-in-place shored walkways surround the theaters and are protected with a cantilevered architectural concrete roof system, shaded and glassed in.’
    • ‘This was the entrance to our front porch, which was all glassed in.’
    • ‘The carvery is situated in the ‘new’ section of the pub, adjacent to the bar area and has one glassed in section with the roast meats and the bain marie hot boxes for the vegetables and the soup.’
    • ‘The restaurant is glassed in on two sides, having an elevated floor with computers, while on street level there is the dining area.’
    • ‘The restaurant is now fully air-conditioned, with the front section glassed in.’
    • ‘What was once the street is now the main lobby, which is glassed in so you can see its dome with original moulding and cornices.’
    • ‘There are ancient rock carvings at the foot of a steep flight of steps; they are glassed over, but they prove worryingly hard to discern.’
    • ‘Spend as little time at the airport as possible; avoid heavily glassed areas.’
    • ‘The balcony is glassed in, and features corporate boxes.’
    • ‘The room is nicely glassed off, so kids can have fun, stay put, and not bother the staid old newspaper readers like me.’
    • ‘An internal fiberglass liner is glassed in place and provides much of the structural support and stiffening for the hull.’
  • 2(especially in hunting) scan (one's surroundings) with binoculars.

    ‘the first day was spent glassing the rolling hills’
    • ‘They stop and pass the binoculars back and forth, glassing the walls.’
    • ‘We reached the summit, hunkered below the skyline and began glassing the open swoops and dips of sagebrush terrain.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 3literary Reflect in or as if in a mirror.

    ‘the opposite slopes glassed themselves in the deep dark water’


  • 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’
      ‘I like to think of myself as a glass half-full kind of guy’
      • ‘The day is half-over, the week is half-over, the glass is half-full.’
      • ‘On the other hand, there is an argument that the glass is half-full.’
      • ‘It all depends on whether you believe the glass is half-full or half-empty.’
      • ‘When people ask if the glass is half-empty or half-full, my answer is: both.’
      • ‘It's possible to disagree over whether the glass is half-full or half-empty for black Americans.’
      • ‘Optimists may say that the glass is half-full, pessimists that the glass is half-empty.’
      • ‘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.’
  • people (who live) in glass houses shouldn't throw stones

    • proverb You shouldn't criticize others when you have similar faults of your own.

      • ‘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).’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, eh?’
      • ‘One common test of abstraction is to explain what this means: ‘people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.’’


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