gloss [Gr.,=tongue], explanatory note on a word or words of a text, usually written between the lines or in a margin of a manuscript. In copying a manuscript, a copyist sometimes incorporated a gloss in the text, so that the copy departed from the original. The gloss may be in a language different from that of the text. Old glosses on the Bible have value as evidence of tradition, as have glosses in civil and canon law.

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