1. An air of compelling charm, romance, and excitement, especially when delusively alluring.
2. Archaic A magic spell; enchantment.
[Scots, magic spell, alteration of grammar (from the association of learning with magic).]
Usage Note: Many words, such as honor, vapor, and labor, are usually spelled with an -or ending in American English but with an -our ending in British English. The preferred spelling of glamour, however, is -our, making it an exception to the usual American practice. The adjective is more often spelled glamorous in both American and British usage.
1. Magic, enchantment, spell; esp. in the phrase to cast the glamour over one (see quot. 1721).
?17.. Johnny Faa in Ritson Sc. Songs (1794) II. 177 As soon as they saw her well far'd face, They coost the glamer o'er her. 1720 RAMSAY Rise & Fall Stocks 152 Like Belzie when he nicks a witch, He..Casts o'er her een his cheating glamour. 1721 Gloss. to Poems s.v., When devils, wizards or jugglers deceive the sight, they are said to cast glamour o'er the eyes of the spectator. 1789 BURNS Capt. Grose's Peregrin. iv, Ye gipsy-gang that deal in glamor, And you deep read in hell's black grammar, Warlocks and witches. 1830 SCOTT Demonol. iii, This species of Witchcraft is well known in Scotland as the glamour, or deceptio visus, and was supposed to be a special attribute of the race of Gipsies. 1859 TENNYSON Enid 743 That maiden in the tale, Whom Gwydion made by glamour out of flowers. 1860 READE Cloister & H. I. 98 He knows father and daughter both. They cast their glamour on him. 1894 D. C. MURRAY Making of Novelist 199 The man had a glamour for me and drew me with the attraction of a magnet.
2. a. A magical or fictitious beauty attaching to any person or object; a delusive or alluring charm.
1840 HOOD Kilmansegg, Fancy Ball xxxvi, For to paint that scene of glamour It would need the Great Enchanter's charm. 1863 OUIDA Held in Bondage 97, I know how quickly the glamour fades in the test of constant intercourse. 1874 GREEN Short Hist. v. §1. 213 A sudden burst of military glory threw its glamour over the age of Cressy and Poitiers.
b. Charm; attractiveness; physical allure, esp. feminine beauty; freq. attrib. (see sense 3). colloq. (orig. U.S.).