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Luster vs Sheen vs Gloss vs Glaze

Luster, sheenglossglaze are comparable when they denote a smooth shining surface that is the natural property of a thing or is given to it by some such process as polishing, burnishing, or coating.

Luster basically and in technical use regularly implies a giving off of often iridescent reflected light. In literary and extended use luster is often used to imply radiance or brilliance (see BRIGHT 1 ).

Sheen applies to a lustrous surface (as of a textile) or a surface luster (as of a mineral cleavage surface or a dark feather) that may be dull or bright and may be a simple shining or marked by richly iridescent or metallic tones. In extended use sheen may stress richness and brilliance or it may stress a superficiality suggestive of a surface luster.

Gloss stresses superficiality more than luster or sheen and is appropiately applied to something that shines because coated with a shining substance or because well polished or specially finished. In extended use, gloss often implies superficial attractiveness or plausibility.

Glaze applies particularly to a glasslike coating which provides a smooth impervious lustrous surface on ceramic wares, but it is also applicable to such comparable coatings as one made on cooked meats by pouring over them broth thickened by boiling or by addition of gelatin, or on baked goods by beaten egg or syrup, or as one formed on terrestrial surfaces. The term also is sometimes applied to the material from which such a glaze is made. Glaze is the least common of these terms in extended usage and in such use is typically metaphorical.