Definition of glide in US English:



  • 1no object , with adverbial of direction Move with a smooth continuous motion, typically with little noise.

    ‘a few gondolas glided past’
    • ‘And all this as we watched the locals glide down the slopes.’
    • ‘The boat was slowly gliding through the water when suddenly we heard a big splash behind us.’
    • ‘Party leaders leaders appear like the swan gliding serenely on the surface of the water.’
    • ‘There were couples gliding across the polished floor, dancing circles around the large room.’
    • ‘The audience became awfully quiet as she glided to her position.’
    • ‘He seemed to glide effortlessly through the clear water, like a gleam of light.’
    • ‘A pleasure boat glides silently over the surface of Loch Tay, as birds swoop to skim the water.’
    • ‘There's a shady lakeside spot where the swans glide and hiss.’
    • ‘My reverie was soon broken by the sight of an exceptionally beautiful woman gliding noiselessly past me, on the way from the lifts to the main entrance.’
    • ‘I watched him move across the kitchen, gliding in a perfect motion.’
    • ‘But she glided effortlessly past, clearly unimpressed.’
    • ‘She glided down the corridor neither her mind nor her feet really touching the ground.’
    • ‘A moment later, the door opened and the butler glided into the room.’
    • ‘I remember skating at night on empty outdoor rinks, gliding on the smooth surface in long arcs.’
    • ‘When he's finished writing, he reads his scripts out loud to me so that I can time them and offer suggestions for changes, his fingers gliding effortlessly across the Braille display.’
    • ‘The dragon slowly glided down to the ground, searching the area around me for a trap.’
    • ‘They all glided with ease through the area stacked with crates and found a door.’
    • ‘She took that as a cue to glide down the stairs and introduce herself.’
    • ‘The shot was filmed with the camera gliding down the empty staircase.’
    • ‘Completely absorbed, Rolando glided across the dance floor with her in his arms.’
    slide, move smoothly, slip, sail, float, drift, flow
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    1. 1.1with object and adverbial of direction Cause to move with a smooth continuous motion.
      • ‘As you glide your mouse over each, the page appears; click on the dot, and the page zooms in and pans crazily.’
      • ‘She dared me to go for some red lipstick, so I smoothed some chapstick on, then glided the blood-red stuff onto my lips.’
      • ‘She gently glided her hand along the smooth edge of the podium and let her hand be placed upon the key item in the center of the podium.’
      • ‘Those of us who weren't heavy breathing had gone one stage further and were gliding a loving hand over the smooth, rounded bonnet.’
      • ‘He glides the details of passing time over the page while fixing the reader's eyes on the daily plane engine failures, empty suitcase encounters and shirt-drenching negotiations.’
      • ‘You point out the dim light of a satellite gliding overhead on a polar orbit.’
      • ‘Your facial features are more prone to injury, so gliding the razor over those areas takes a little more skill.’
      • ‘Now his hands appeared on the sides of my face, cradling my head, gliding his fingers over my skin, then they pushed back and ran over my ears and the sound blocked everything else.’
      • ‘Greg and I paddle in silent unison, gliding the canoe, matched in motivation and intent.’
      • ‘Slowly, I made my way downstairs, gliding my hand along the smooth wooden banister.’
      • ‘Then, simply take long, smooth strokes and glide the razor blade along your face without applying too much pressure.’
      • ‘He moved the book so that it was situated between them and began to read, gliding his index finger over the words.’
      • ‘Then he raised the glass, first gliding his nostrils over its cooling bouquet, and took his first sip.’
      • ‘I stopped as well, and laughed, gliding my fingers through my hair.’
      • ‘He raised his fingers to her face, gliding them down her pale skin, and then letting them rest underneath her chin.’
      • ‘Just apply the cream, shave away, and notice how easy it is to glide that razor across your face.’
      • ‘Jake smiled, gliding Ellen's car into the next lane.’
      • ‘Ten of us broke the ice across the harbour with our feet and glided our boats out into the liquid waters beyond.’
      slide, move smoothly, slip, sail, float, drift, flow
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  • 2no object Make an unpowered flight, either in a glider or in an aircraft with engine failure.

    • ‘After gliding down to a wheat field, the cylinder was found swinging under the engine, still attached by the spark plug wires.’
    • ‘If you bounce, maintain the crosswind correction so you'll glide straight ahead, rather than bounce sideways into a side-load condition.’
    • ‘After the successful test flight, Altair glided to a landing on the remote desert runway.’
    • ‘I remember kicking off the side of the aircraft, gliding, and then popping my flotation.’
    • ‘Despite his own aircraft being damaged, he glided back to base with a dead engine and crash-landed near Folkstone.’
    • ‘The missiles glided through the air crashing through the remaining soldiers.’
    • ‘Everybody pushes the airplane until it glides, then they jump on and let the plane coast until it hits the ground again.’
    • ‘The pilot and his crew had baled out and the aircraft had glided into the sea, coming to rest on a reef with its nose in 60m and its tail in 70m of water.’
    • ‘Then, the engines are powered back and the airplane glides over the top of the arch with just enough power (jet thrust) to overcome air friction and drag.’
    • ‘I shoved the nose down, glided in and hit the water with a good whap.’
    • ‘Though he had years of experience in gliding, the intrepid experimenter's heart was pounding.’
    • ‘The plane glided for 19 minutes and blew most of its tires on landing.’
    • ‘You have to assume engine shut-down at any time and be able to glide to a landing.’
    • ‘Further, the advanced Me 163 quickly ran short of fuel, then glided back to base.’
    • ‘It lost power in all its engines, but glided long enough to exit the ash cloud and get the engines working again.’
    • ‘The vehicle was launched from a catapult and snagged as it glided off the launch rails.’
    • ‘On a beautiful autumn morning in the nation's capital I am gliding above the city in the Air Force-piloted ADF balloon and it is magnificent.’
    • ‘The aircraft then glided to a splashdown into the Pacific Ocean.’
    • ‘Parachuting could have evolved into gliding and finally into active flight.’
    1. 2.1 (of a bird) fly through the air with very little movement of the wings.
      • ‘During tracking sessions, notes were made on whether the falcons were gliding in circles or in a straight flight path.’
      • ‘It is believed they can sleep while in flight, gliding on air currents and staying aloft without flapping for hours or even days at a time.’
      • ‘I saw about eight soaring hawks, four gliding herons, and roughly 2,000 dazzling picture-postcard views.’
      • ‘An owl glided nearby, wings whispering upon the darkness, huge eyes searching for slight movements in the sea of darkness.’
      • ‘It continued towards me, floating across the floor with the ease of a little white sea bird gliding over the surface of the waves.’
      • ‘Both circled high over the estuary, sharply-pointed wings alternately flapping and gliding as the great birds searched for ducks and waders.’
      • ‘He watched the two birds glide away over the waves, an apprehensive glint in his eye.’
      • ‘If no prey is sighted the bird glides forward or circles a few times before hovering once more over new ground.’
      • ‘As the birds glided through the clouds with great ease, he wondered exactly where his life was going.’
      • ‘Vakho sat glued to his binoculars watching raptors glide the thermals.’
      • ‘Then they landed on the water and glided forward before taking flight again.’
      • ‘I looked up and saw a serpent eagle gliding smoothly in the air.’
      • ‘Cries of the forest animals and the great birds of the night glided across the treetops.’
      • ‘Floating high above the clouds, she saw birds glide gracefully around her.’
      • ‘She leaped over another fallen tree and watched as the bird glided over.’
      • ‘Flapping flight is distinguished from gliding by synchronous oscillations of the forelimbs.’
      • ‘A few birds glided in the stormy sea of a swirling wind.’
      • ‘Shortly after dawn, a group of massive, white-shouldered birds glides over the lake in search of breakfast.’
      • ‘In flight the wings have a ragged, moth-like appearance as this bird glides to and fro at a tremendous height.’
      • ‘You may see stiff-winged fulmars gliding effortlessly, or hear them cackling as they sit precariously on ledges incubating single eggs.’
      soar, wheel, plane
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  • 1A smooth continuous movement.

    • ‘I began watching him paint, amazed by the way he made the paintbrush glide over the paper, leaving the once blank spot alive with color.’
    • ‘With waxed skis, the glide wax must be suitable for the snow conditions.’
    • ‘The piece ends with a long glide of her bow in A minor.’
    • ‘It's still the thing kids learn to write with and it's the writing instrument favored by artists, architects and others who like the buttery glide of soft lead.’
    • ‘His smooth glide towards me stopped the moment he saw the look on my face.’
    • ‘Let the club glide through the sand, not dig into it.’
    • ‘Now we can ask two questions: How much does each specific interaction help an ion glide through a channel?’
    • ‘The missiles were in glide move, as the military people were hoping that the aliens couldn't see them if they weren't accelerating.’
    • ‘These glide over a weak zone in the mantle known as the asthenosphere, and the relative motion between plates causes most large-scale tectonic structures.’
    • ‘Then everything seemed to become compact and streamlined, his pace would quicken into a glide, rather than a sprint, and he would hit the ball like a smooth rock and be gone.’
    • ‘He watched the car glide along, Sanderson sitting with a smile upon his face, one he always had while driving in the morning air in his beautiful car.’
    • ‘I loosened my grip on the rail enough to begin a glumble down the stairs (glumble meaning a glide and a stumble all in one).’
    • ‘Gingerly, she lets the sharp end of the ice glide over his jaw.’
    • ‘I just glide along while others struggle with their petty problems.’
    • ‘The three of us watched a long water snake glide in a broad oval around the pond.’
    • ‘I don't remember skating on it, but I remember watching people step and glide, step and glide.’
    • ‘But I figure that this will at least give me some frame of reference for the real thing, and that a leisurely glide down this course will permit me a small measure of confidence.’
    • ‘I could barely walk in them, let alone gracefully glide over smooth ice.’
    • ‘Gun still trained on me, I watched her glide backwards towards her bike.’
    1. 1.1 A smooth continuous step in ballroom dancing.
      • ‘They walk through the dancing couples; others dance, they walk, but they begin to walk in time, a lilting walk, almost a glide.’
      • ‘This style utilizes a glide step, and, rather than a perpetually upbeat approach, uses motions that ebb and flow with the mood of the music.’
      • ‘When we were content that Nicole had mastered her glide and looked fabulous executing it, we were left with one final detail before it was time for her big reveal.’
      • ‘You miss people looking at you like you're insane when you're glide stepping to French class with your French book on your head so you don't bounce while you march.’
    2. 1.2 A flight in a glider or unpowered aircraft.
      • ‘The wind was already blowing in a favorable direction so it took only the barest hint of his power to begin his glide.’
      • ‘Then an eleven mile glide to the next good thermal.’
      • ‘Included in the presentation was video from the most recent SS1 glide flight, which took place just three days earlier.’
  • 2Phonetics
    A sound produced as the vocal organs move toward or away from articulation of a vowel or consonant, for example /y/ in mute /myo͞ot/.

    • ‘They are common in monosyllables and incorporate a glide before a vowel at a syllable boundary.’
    • ‘The approximant r can also be regarded as a glide.’
    • ‘Other rules would account for glide insertion and consonant sharing.’


Old English glīdan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch glijden and German gleiten.