To glean things is to gather them up, bit by bit.
Part of speech:
(Like "eat," "try," and "want," all transitive verbs do something to an object.
You eat a banana, try a game, and want a new phone.
Likewise, you glean something.)
gleaned, gleaning, gleanable
How to use it:
"Glean" is one of those short, simple, highly useful verbs that we might be able to use with a better understanding of its original meaning. Because gleaning was originally something you did to leftover ears of corn from the field that failed to be harvested by the reapers, "glean" carries a positive and fruitful connotation: to glean things implies that you're being thorough, frugal, and perceptive as you seek out and gather up any useful or valuable bit of anything.
So, talk about gleaning something (like experience, wisdom, understanding, meaning, or information) from something. You could glean information about someone's personality from the way they walk or write, glean a few hints from your teacher about what will be on the test, glean historical information from some artifacts you found, glean tips for your career development from some negative feedback you heard, and so on.
Unable to glean any more than a single example from their teacher or textbook, the students remained perplexed.
Conclusions gleaned from those studies may not be as tenable as you think. Look at how small the sample sizes were!
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "glean" means when you can explain it without saying "gather" or "scrape together."
Think of a time you were filled with inspiration or new ideas, and fill in the blanks: "From (a certain resource, conversation, or experience), I was able to glean _____."
Example: "From that one book about word histories, I was able to glean dozens of fascinating facts about words I'd never before given a thought to."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
We're playing with clichés this month, examining the origins of some colorful ones. I’ll give you a cliché (some of which you might also call a proverb and/or an idiom) and pose a multiple-choice question about its origin. (I used this nifty book as a reference!)
Yesterday's question: Something “dirt cheap” is really, really cheap. Have we been throwing that cliché around since 1421, 1621, or 1821?
Answer: This one is not too old—it was first recorded in a magazine published in 1821.
Try this one today: An “eager beaver” is someone who works hard in an earnest way. Did this cliché come from England, the US, or Canada?
A Point Well Made:
Have few desires.”
1. The opposite of GLEAN is
2. Whether you prefer to meditate, pray, or keep a journal, any form of self-reflection allows you to glean _____.
A. time B. insights
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.