Green’s Dictionary of Slang

glom v.

also glahm, glam, glaum, glaum onto, glomm, glom onto, gloom, glum
[Scot. glaum, to snatch, to grab, to seize with the jaws, to eat greedily]

1. (US) to steal.

[US]J. London ‘The Road’ in Hendricks & Shepherd Jack London Reports (1970) 311–21: Their argot is peculiar study. [...] glam, steal.
[US]Salt Lake Trib. (UT) 27 Nov. 4/3: Dis guy says I glommed dese kicks [...] Say, dat’s de limit, ain’t it?
[US]J. London Road 131: We shook hands like long-lost brothers, and discovered that our hands were gloved. ‘Where’d ye glahm ’em?’ I asked. ‘Out of an engine-cab,’ he answered.
[US]Spokane Press (WA) 22 Sept. 7/3: I glommed the keister [...] we fenced it for sixty bucks.
[US]Cincinnati Enquirer (OH) 12 May 12/1: ‘So I started tuh batter the stem, an’ see ’f I couldn’t glom a benny ’er sumpin’ out uv uh masheen’.
[US]A.J. Barr Let Tomorrow Come 40: I try to glom a brace o’ spuds.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Fly Paper’ Story Omnibus (1966) 38: I glaumed that stuff last week when I was visiting Babe.
[US]A.J. Liebling ‘Quest for Mollie’ in Just Enough Liebling (2004) 157: The djellabah [...] serves as a repository for everything the goum gloms.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 100–1: glaum [...] glom [...] glom on to to steal.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 82/2: Glaum onto. See glom onto.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 43: The D.A. has glommed the case right out of our hands. Lovely system we got around here.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 801: glom – To snatch [...] steal.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 78: He [...] glommed the money and he took off to Europe.
[US]A. Brooke Last Toke 113: If the old wino had not been shucking to glom the ten dollar bill.
[US](con. 1970s) J. Pistone Donnie Brasco (2006) 332: Lefty’s gonna say we gave you twenty-five and you must have glommed the other twenty.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 90: Pete glommed sixty five-spots.
[US](con. 1960s) J. Ellroy Blood’s a Rover 24: Thge snagged him with some black lace undies and a sandwich he glommed from Sally Compton’s fridge.

2. (US) to arrest.

[Can] ‘Thieves’ Sl.’ Toronto Star 19 Jan. 2/5: ARREST Glaum.
[US]‘A-No. 1’ From Coast to Coast with Jack London 32: Jack London was ‘glummed’ at Niagara Falls, also in Erie County, where he drew down a sentence of thirty days.
[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 448: Glaumed, to be, To be [...] arrested.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 57: I’ve been stealing for twenty-five years [...] and [...] never even been glomed (arrested).
[US]‘Boxcar Bertha’ Sister of the Road (1975) 33: The shacks are hostile, and the railroad dicks will glom you sure, unless you’re lucky.
[US]R. Chandler Farewell, My Lovely (1949) 142: Hell, he ain’t there [...] Somebody must of glommed him off.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 82/2: Glom, v. [...] 2. To arrest. ‘Chet was glommed dead bang (red-handed) for a knock-off (murder).’.

3. (US) to get (hold of), to obtain, to seize upon, to grab.

[US]‘Lord Ballyrot in Slangland’ in Tacoma Times (WA) 21 Aug. 4/4: Glom a coal-tar bullet just as a sample, mister, and sink it in your map.
[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 38: glom [...] to grab; to snatch; to take; implying violence. Example: ‘Glom this short and drop off two blocks below.’.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard God’s Man 129: Wish I could glom a dame who could dance.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 8 Jan. 24/1: Let him go into the highways and byways and see life, and not glom it second-hand like a ‘jungle buzzard’ does a hobo’s leavings.
[US]W.R. Morse ‘Stanford Expressions’ in AS II:6 276: glomm — seize greedily.
[US] ‘Toledo Slim’ in Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 231: And then I made my get-away and glommed an East-bound train.
[US]E.S. Gardner ‘Bird in the Hand’ in Goulart (1967) 266: That’s a line of hooey the lawyer thought up for the judge, and the newspaper boys glommed onto it.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Coffin for a Coward’ in Hollywood Detective Dec. [Internet] As soon as I was alone I glommed a quick gander into the bedroom.
[US]S. Bellow Augie March (1996) 268: I died when I saw you glom onto those books.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 801: glaum – To take or seize. [...] glom – To snatch; seize; grab.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 96: glom [onto] someone (fr hobo sl glommer = hand) to be overpossessive of a love.
[US]‘Joe Bob Briggs’ Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In 83: It gloms onto his shoulder and starts eatin and burrowin.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 36: The punks hadn’t had time to glom a shyster.
[US](con. 1949) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 183: This pimp glommed onto her and got her fixed up with some high-grade dope.
[UK]Guardian Editor 17 Dec. 12: Trying to seem up-to-the-minute by glomming on to the latest slang and the hottest music.
[US]J. Ellroy Hilliker Curse 13: There were more sweet deals ahead [...] He would glom himself one.
‘Chelsea G. Summers’ in Vice 28 Apr. [Internet] Men glom to you as if you're magic when in fact you're blood and guts and hormones and thoughts.

4. (US) to look, to see, to realize.

[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 293: The ‘dicks’ rushed in and glomed him; but Steve dropped one of them and pushed th’ others aside and walked down th’ steps, cool’s you please.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 2 Aug. 24/2: Trolley riding [...] is indulged in by millions who have not glommed even the rudiments of the game.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 695: She used to be always embracing me Josie whenever he was there meaning him of course glauming me over.
[US]J. Lait Gangster Girl 3: I guess I can battle it out after I never glom you again.
[Ire](con. 1890s) S. O’Casey Pictures in the Hallway 10: All the grinnin’ foreign canonised bowseys gathered round me, [...] all of them glaumin’ to see something that’ll put a sthrain on perpetual piety for me Irish flock.
[US] in W.C. Fields By Himself (1974) 484: I am a grandpappy. I went over to ‘glom’ the infant the other day.
[US]H. Ellison ‘Have Coolth’ in Gentleman Junkie (1961) 133: I glommed her immediatest because she had green eyes.
[US]N. Mailer Why Are We in Vietnam? (1970) 18: Gather here [...] and glom onto the confusion of my brain.
[US]D. Dee Golden Betty 8: He was glad she skipped before the fuzz glommed their domestic setup.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 29: Glaumed Observed closely.
[US]R. Campbell Alice in La-La Land (1999) 213: Anyways, who gives a rat’s ass why she don’t glom him right that first time.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Gravy Train’ in Pronzini & Adrian Hard-Boiled (1995) 498: I glommed the names of the paternity suit complainants.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘I’ve Got the Goods’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 178: I read over their shoulders. I glommed the gestalt.

5. (US Und.) to pick fruit or crops.

[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 48: He’s a hop-glomer and sorter like a hobo himself.
[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 35: Hobos are known for what they do, or do not do [...] Among the various harvest hands are the ‘apple knockers,’ the ‘berry glaumers,’ the ‘bundle tossers,’ the ‘potato rooters,’ and so on.
[US] ‘The Open Book’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 115: There’s that prune gloming Californian, / He’s known as the nice Native Son.

6. (US) to eat, usu. to eat greedily.

[US]J. Conroy World to Win 226: The way they smeared eggs and glommed jam nearly made him puke.
[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 205: glom, v. – to eat fast.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 149: Bandit-eyed coons [...] glommed finned, scaly chow from the still, brackish shallows.
[US]K. Huff A Steady Rain I ii: She turned toward me, no top on, the baby glommed on to gazunga number two.

7. (US) to stick, to entangle.

[UK]P. Theroux Picture Palace 12: It’s the cult of personality they want to glom onto.

In derivatives

glommer (n.)

1. one who ‘catches on’.

[US]‘Lord Ballyrot in Slangland’ in Tacoma Times (WA) 16 Oct. 4/4: She’s [i.e. a horse] a blue-ribbon glommer, and knows all the steps.

2. (US Und.) a person who harvests fruit or crops.

[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 48: He’s a hop-glomer and sorter like a hobo himself.
[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 35: Hobos are known for what they do, or do not do [...] Among the various harvest hands are the ‘apple knockers,’ the ‘berry glaumers,’ the ‘bundle tossers,’ the ‘potato rooters,’ and so on.