from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Partial or total darkness; dimness: switched on a table lamp to banish the gloom of a winter afternoon.
  • n. A partially or totally dark place, area, or location.
  • n. An atmosphere of melancholy or depression: Gloom pervaded the office.
  • n. A state of melancholy or depression; despondency.
  • intransitive v. To be or become dark, shaded, or obscure.
  • intransitive v. To feel, appear, or act despondent, sad, or mournful.
  • transitive v. To make dark, shaded, or obscure.
  • transitive v. Archaic To make despondent; sadden.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. darkness, dimness or obscurity.
  • n. a melancholy, depressing or despondent atmosphere
  • v. To be dark or gloomy.
  • v. to look or feel sad, sullen or despondent.
  • v. To render gloomy or dark; to obscure; to darken.
  • v. To fill with gloom; to make sad, dismal, or sullen.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Partial or total darkness; thick shade; obscurity.
  • n. A shady, gloomy, or dark place or grove.
  • n. Cloudiness or heaviness of mind; melancholy; aspect of sorrow; low spirits; dullness.
  • n. In gunpowder manufacture, the drying oven.
  • intransitive v. To shine or appear obscurely or imperfectly; to glimmer.
  • intransitive v. To become dark or dim; to be or appear dismal, gloomy, or sad; to come to the evening twilight.
  • transitive v. To render gloomy or dark; to obscure; to darken.
  • transitive v. To fill with gloom; to make sad, dismal, or sullen.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To appear dimly; be seen in an imperfect or waning light; glimmer; be in darkness or obscurity.
  • To exhibit or produce a somber or melancholy feeling; appear sad, gloomy, or dismal; frown; lower.
  • To darken, or make dark, gloomy, or somber.
  • To fill with gloom or despondency; make gloomy or sad.
  • n. Dim, glimmering shade; deep twilight; cheerless obscurity; darkness: as, the gloom of a forest.
  • n. Hence — A dark place.
  • n. Cloudiness or heaviness of mind; dejection, melancholy, sullenness, and the like, or an aspect indicative of such feelings.
  • n. A depressing or disheartening condition of affairs; a dismal aspect or prospect.
  • n. In gunpowder-manuf., the drying-oven.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a state of partial or total darkness
  • n. a feeling of melancholy apprehension
  • n. an atmosphere of depression and melancholy


Probably from Middle English gloumen, to become dark, look glum.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English *gloom, *glom, from Old English glōm ("gloaming, twilight, darkness"), from Proto-Germanic *glōmaz (“gleam, shimmer, sheen”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰel- (“to gleam, shimmer, glow”). Cognate with Norwegian glom ("transparent membrane"). (Wiktionary)



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