A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Glass (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 907

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 907

Glass. n.s. [ᵹlæꞅ, Saxon; glas, Dutch, as Pezon imagines from glâs, British, green. In Erse it is called klânn , and this primarily signifies clean or clear, being so denominated from its transparency.

  1. An artificial substance made by fusing fixed salts and flint or sand together, with a vehement fire.

    The word glass cometh from the Belgick and High Dutch: glass, from the verb glansen, which signifies amongst them to shine; or perhaps from glacies in the Latin, which is ice, whose colour it resembles. Peacham on Drawing.

    Glass is thought so compact and firm a body that it is indestructible by art or nature, and is also of so close a texture that the subtlest chymical spirits cannot pervade it. Boyle.

    Show'rs of granadoes rain, by sudden burst
    Disploding murd'rous bowels, fragments of steel
    And stones, and glass and nitrous grain adust.
    Phillips.

  2. A glass vessel of any kind.

                    I'll see no more;
    And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass
    Which shews me many more.
    Shakespeare's Macbeth.

  3. A looking-glass; a mirrour.

    He was the mark and glass, copy and book,
    That fashion'd others.
    Shakespeare's Henry IV. p. ii.

    He spreads his subtile nets from sight,
    With twinkling glasses, to betray
    The larks that in the meshes light.
    Dryden's Horace.

  4. An Hour Glass. A glass used in measuring time by the flux of sand.

                      Were my wife's liver
    Infected as her life, she would not live
    The running of one glass.
    Shakes. Winter's Tale.

  5. A cup of glass used to drink in.

            To this last costly treaty,
    That swallow'd so much treasure, and like a glass
    Did break i' th' rinsing.
    Shakespeare's Henry VIII.

                        When thy heart
    Dilates with fervent joys and eager soul
    Prompts to pursue the sparkling glass, besure
    'Tis time to shun it.
    Phillips.

  6. The quantity of wine usually contained in a glass; a draught.

    While a man thinks one glass more will not make him drunk, that one glass hath disabled him from well discerning his present condition. Taylor's Rule of living holy.

    The first glass may pass for health, the second for good-humour, the third for our friends; but the fourth is for our enemies. Temple.

  7. A perspective glass.

    Like those who have surveyed the moon by glasses, I can only tell of a new and shining world above us; but not relate the riches and glories of the place. Dryden.

Sources: Boyle, Robert (84) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2 (72) · Shakespeare's Henry VIII (62) · Shakespeare's Macbeth (136) · Peacham, Henry (53) · Philips, John (42) · Taylor, Jeremy (57) · Temple, William (54) · Shakespeare's Winter's Tale (43)

Attributes: Brittonic (1) · Dutch (90) · Irish (Erse) (11) · Latin (690) · Noun Substantive (1269) · Saxon (215)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Glass (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: May 18, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=19557.


  1. I cannot find the “Pezon” source (and, unfortunately, “Pezon” is Spanish for “nipple,” so internet searches are not very helpful.) Anyone else have luck?

  2. Brandi on May 18th, 2014 at 4:26 pm
  3. Why no closing bracket at the end of the etymology section? (Distracted by Pezon?)

  4. Mark Richardson on May 18th, 2014 at 9:37 pm
  5. It was left out in this entry (see scan) – likely a typesetter’s error.

  6. Brandi on May 18th, 2014 at 9:38 pm
  7. Looks like Pezon was the most obscure of Johnson’s etymological sources. Not listed among places he customarily resorted to, not glossed by either Crystal or Lynch in their abridgements, not mentioned in any other place in the dictionary (I even cranked up my Cambridge CD but the search produced only that one hit). Google has nothing relevant. Am I missing something completely obvious? Was Johnson just showing off? Is Pezon a completely forgotten datum of the 18th century? The spooky thing is that it seems that somewhere–in Pope or Swift or Fielding–I’ve seen that word before…

  8. Mark Richardson on May 18th, 2014 at 11:43 pm

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