AskDefine | Define glossy

Dictionary Definition

glossy adj
1 having a smooth, gleaming surface; "glossy auburn hair"; "satiny gardenia petals"; "sleek black fur"; "silken eyelashes"; "silky skin"; "a silklike fabric"; "slick seals and otters" [syn: satiny, sleek, silken, silky, silklike, slick]
2 (of paper and fabric and leather) having a surface made smooth and glossy especially by pressing between rollers; "calendered paper"; "a dress of glossy sateen" [syn: calendered]
3 reflecting light; "glistening bodies of swimmers"; "the horse's glossy coat"; "lustrous auburn hair"; "saw the moon like a shiny dime on a deep blue velvet carpet"; "shining white enamel" [syn: glistening, lustrous, sheeny, shiny, shining] [also: glossiest, glossier]

User Contributed Dictionary





  1. having a smooth, silklike, reflective surface



  1. In the context of "mostly|UK": a glossy magazine

Extensive Definition

see also List of optical topics Gloss is an optical property, which is based on the interaction of light with physical characteristics of a surface. It is actually the ability of a surface to reflect light into the specular direction. The factors that affects gloss are the refractive index of the material, the angle of incident light and the surface topography.
Gloss can be said as a view of material appearance. Materials with smooth surfaces appear glossy, while very rough surfaces reflect no specular light and therefore appear matt (British English) or matte (American English). Gloss is also expressed as lustre in mineralogy, or sheen in certain fields of application.

Qualitative and Quantitative View of Gloss

Surface gloss is considered to be the amount of incident light that is reflected at the specular reflectance angle of the mean of that surface. So, specular gloss is proportional to the reflectance of the surface.
The Fresnel formula gives the specular reflectance, R_s , for an unpolarized light of intensity I_0 , at angle of incidence i , giving the intensity of specularly reflected beam of intensity I_r , while the refractive index of the surface specimen is m .
The Fresnel equation is given as follows : R_s = \frac
R_s = \frac \left[\left(\frac\right)^2 + \left(\frac\right)^2\right]

Surface Roughness

Surface roughness in micrometer range influences the specular reflectance levels. The diagram on the right depicts the reflection at an angle i on a rough surface with a characteristic roughness height h . The path difference between rays reflected from the top and bottom of the surface bumps is:
\Delta r = 2h \cos i \;
When the wavelength of the light is \lambda, the phase difference will be:
\Delta \phi = \frac \;
If \Delta \phi \; is small, the two beams (see Figure 1) are nearly in phase and therefore the specimen surface can be considered smooth. But when \Delta \phi = \pi \;, then beams are not in phase and through interference, cancellation of each other will occur. Low intensity of specularly reflected light means the surface is rough and it scatters the light in other directions. If an arbitrary criterion for smooth surface is \Delta \phi , then substitution into the equation above will produce:
This smooth surface condition is known as the Rayleigh criterion.

Gloss Measurement

Specular reflection is measured with a specular glossmeter. Unpolarised white light is concentrated by a condenser lens onto a field aperture, which is located in the focal plane of the source lens. The reflected beam at the surface is later collected by the receptor lens. The intensity of the beam is then measured through a photodetector.
The common angles of incidence for gloss measurement are 20°, 60° and 85°. In some cases is used 45° and 75° geometry. Low gloss surfaces are recommended to be measured with 85° settings.
The typical standards for gloss measurements are ASTM D 2457, DIN EN ISO 2813 and DIN 67530.


glossy in Czech: Lesk
glossy in German: Glanz
glossy in Estonian: Läige
glossy in Dutch: Glans
glossy in Portuguese: Lustre
glossy in Russian: Глянец
glossy in Ukrainian: Глянець

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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