Glamor

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Origin

Scots glamour, alteration of English grammar; from the popular association of erudition with occult practices

A glamour was originally said to be a spell cast by a witch to make somebody see things in a different way. Late in the 19th century the common meaning shifted to being applied to ordinary objects and jewellery without connotations of supernatural, merely upon the effect that it has on appearance.

Definitions

  • 1: a magic spell <the girls appeared to be under a glamour — Llewelyn Powys>
  • 2: an exciting and often illusory and romantic attractiveness <the glamour of Hollywood>; especially : alluring or fascinating attraction —often used attributively <glamour stock> <glamour girls> <whooping cranes and … other glamour birds — R. T. Peterson>

Description

Glamour originally was a magical-occult spell cast on somebody to make them believe that something or somebody was attractive. In the late 19th century terminology a non magical item used to help create a more attractive appearance gradually became 'a glamour'. Today, glamour is the impression of attraction or fascination that a particularly luxurious or elegant appearance creates, an impression which is better than the reality. Typically, a person, event, location, technology, or product such as a piece of clothing can be glamorous or add glamour.

Virginia Postrel says that for glamour to be successful nearly always requires sprezzatura - an appearance of effortlessness, and to appear distant - transcending the everyday, to be slightly mysterious and somewhat idealised, but not to the extent it is no longer possible to identify with the person. Glamorous things are neither opaque, hiding all, nor transparent showing everything, but translucent, favourably showing things.

Glamour can be confused with a style, which is adherence to a particular school of fashion, or intrinsic beauty; whereas glamour can be external and deliberate.[1]