Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

gleam

play
noun \ˈglēm\

Simple Definition of gleam

  • : a small, bright light

  • : a bright or shining quality

  • : a small amount or sign of something

Full Definition of gleam

  1. 1 a :  a transient appearance of subdued or partly obscured light <the gleam of dawn in the east> b (1) :  a small bright light <the gleam of a match> (2) :  glint <a gleam in his eyes>

  2. 2 :  a brief or faint appearance <a gleam of hope>

gleamy play \ˈglē-mē\ adjective

Examples of gleam

  1. He saw the gleam of a flashlight in the distance.

  2. the rich gleam of the polished wood



Origin of gleam

Middle English gleem, from Old English glǣm; akin to Old English geolu yellow — more at yellow


First Known Use: 15th century


2

gleam

verb

Simple Definition of gleam

  • : to shine brightly

Full Definition of gleam

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to shine with or as if with subdued steady light or moderate brightness

  3. 2 :  to appear briefly or faintly <a light gleamed in the distance>

  4. transitive verb
  5. :  to cause to gleam

Examples of gleam

  1. The sun gleamed on the water.

  2. His eyes were gleaming with delight.



1508

First Known Use of gleam

1508

Synonym Discussion of gleam

flash, gleam, glint, sparkle, glitter, glisten, glimmer, shimmer mean to send forth light. flash implies a sudden outburst of bright light <lightning flashed>. gleam suggests a steady light seen through an obscuring medium or against a dark background <lights gleamed in the valley>. glint implies a cold glancing light <glinting steel>. sparkle suggests innumerable moving points of bright light <the sparkling waters>. glitter connotes a brilliant sparkling or gleaming <glittering diamonds>. glisten applies to the soft sparkle from a wet or oily surface <glistening wet sidewalk>. glimmer suggests a faint or wavering gleam <a distant glimmering light>. shimmer means shining with a wavering light <a shimmering satin dress>.


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up gleam? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 14, 2016

to hug and kiss another person

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

2.2 pounds 196.5 pounds 100 pounds 16.96 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ