Glum vs Gloom - What's the difference?

glum | gloom |

As verbs the difference between glum and gloom

is that glum is (obsolete) to look sullen; to be of a sour countenance; to be glum while gloom is to be dark or gloomy.

As nouns the difference between glum and gloom

is that glum is (obsolete) sullenness while gloom is darkness, dimness or obscurity.

As an adjective glum

is despondent; moody; sullen.



Etymology 1

From (etyl) glomen, glommen, glomben, . More at (l).


  • (obsolete) To look sullen; to be of a sour countenance; to be glum.
  • (Hawes)


  • (obsolete) sullenness
  • (Skelton)

    Etymology 2

    Probably from (etyl) . More at (l).


  • despondent; moody; sullen
  • * Thackeray
  • I frighten people by my glum face.




  • Darkness, dimness or obscurity.
  • the gloom of a forest, or of midnight
  • * 1898 , , (Moonfleet) Chapter 4
  • Here was a surprise, and a sad one for me, for I perceived that I had slept away a day, and that the sun was setting for another night. And yet it mattered little, for night or daytime there was no light to help me in this horrible place; and though my eyes had grown accustomed to the gloom , I could make out nothing to show me where to work.
  • A melancholy, depressing or despondent atmosphere.
  • Cloudiness or heaviness of mind; melancholy; aspect of sorrow; low spirits; dullness.
  • * Burke
  • A sullen gloom and furious disorder prevailed by fits.
  • A drying oven used in gunpowder manufacture.
  • Derived terms

    * doom and gloom * gloomily * (l) (humorous) * gloomy


    (en verb)
  • To be dark or gloomy.
  • * Goldsmith
  • The black gibbet glooms beside the way.
  • * 1891 , Mary Noailles Murfree, In the "Stranger People's" Country , Nebraska 2005, p. 189:
  • Around all the dark forest gloomed .
  • to look or feel sad, sullen or despondent.
  • * D. H. Lawrence
  • Ciss was a big, dark-complexioned, pug-faced young woman who seemed to be glooming about something.
  • To render gloomy or dark; to obscure; to darken.
  • * Walpole
  • A bow window gloomed with limes.
  • * Tennyson
  • A black yew gloomed the stagnant air.
  • To fill with gloom; to make sad, dismal, or sullen.
  • * Tennyson
  • Such a mood as that which lately gloomed your fancy.
  • * Goldsmith
  • What sorrows gloomed that parting day.
  • To shine or appear obscurely or imperfectly; to glimmer.