A journalist might refer to the meaning or definition or a specific word or phrase as a gloss. Several glosses together equate to a glossary, assisting students and veterans alike in familiarizing themselves with ever-growing expression and terms in their field. Glosses have been used since the medieval times and have helped people with literacy. Originally, they were formed as short notes in the margins of books and texts, helping the readers understand the context of the words. Today, they have glossaries in the back of books, or even handheld glossaries available.

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