gleam

noun
\ ˈglēm How to pronounce gleam (audio) \

Definition of gleam

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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 : a brief or faint appearance a gleam of hope

gleam

verb
gleamed; gleaming; gleams

Definition of gleam (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to shine with or as if with subdued steady light or moderate brightness
2 : to appear briefly or faintly a light gleamed in the distance

transitive verb

: to cause to gleam

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Other Words from gleam

Noun

gleamy \ ˈglē-​mē How to pronounce gleamy (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for gleam

Verb

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

Verb

gleam, sparkle, and glitter mean to send forth light. gleam is used when light shines through something else or is reflected or shines against a dark background. The lighthouse gleamed through the fog. sparkle is used for something that has several changing points of light. Water sparkled in the sunlight. glitter is used for a brilliant sparkling of light. The jewels glittered brightly.

Examples of gleam in a Sentence

Noun

He saw the gleam of a flashlight in the distance. the rich gleam of the polished wood

Verb

The sun gleamed on the water. His eyes were gleaming with delight.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

All the stories in this book are good, but some gleam with a special luster; they’ve been polished by time, and no one is meant to get hung up on the details. Max Watman, WSJ, "Southern food and Southern Charm," 11 Apr. 2018 Similarly, the gleam of the polished nickel hardware is a nice contrast to rough-hewn flooring and antique furniture. Ayn-monique Tetreault-rooney Klahre, Woman's Day, "What's Your Decorating Style?," 9 Nov. 2010 Consider New Years Eve your carte blanch for dialing the glam and gleam on your outfits all the way up. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "6 Chic New Years Eve Outfit Ideas," 17 Dec. 2018 Just before Lima stepped into the limo, Ta dabbed on a brownish matte lip and a wash of illuminating highlighter to her décolletage—just the thing for catching the inevitable gleam of the camera flash. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "How Adriana Lima Got Ready for the amfAR Gala in Cannes," 18 May 2018 The album—one long and deeply satisfying piece, and three brief ones—gleams with new sonic delights, mostly drawn from the interplay of three accomplished and unconventional pianists: David Virelles, David Bryant and Luis Perdomo. Larry Blumenfeld, WSJ, "‘Double Up, Plays Double Up Plus’ and ‘Dirt… and More Dirt’ Reviews," 22 May 2018 Those yellow jersey gleam as brightly as ever but in a modern age, Brazil's soccer has lost some of its twinkle. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Brazil is no longer the class of world soccer," 6 July 2018 And, once again, all three gel-to-powder shades (Iridescent Pink 003, Fine Gold 003, and Bronze Nectar 003) can be worn separately, or layered for a runway-ready gleam. refinery29.com, "Pat McGrath Shares Her Runway Highlighting Technique," 13 June 2018 As torchbearers for the counterculture, Vouga, 30, and his partner, Lauren Tackberry, 27, have created a home in Berkeley that is refreshingly devoid of the superficial gleam that disposable modernism often emits. Leilani Marie Labong, San Francisco Chronicle, "Peace, love and a ’70s vibe rock a Berkeley home," 1 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In northern California and Oregon, the snowy landscape seems at times to press right up against the train windows before breaking open into vast valleys that literally sparkle as the sun gleams off the snow, streams and lakes. Crystal Paul, The Seattle Times, "What it’s like to take a 35-hour ride on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train from Los Angeles to Seattle," 29 Mar. 2019 Lining the exposed brick walls are rows of gleaming silver machines, gently lit to showcase the wine bottles inside. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "In Argentina, Machines Are the New 'Sommeliers'," 12 Sep. 2018 Red is the splash of color in this show’s elegant palette, and by the end there’s a lot of it — gorgeous, gleaming and as poisonous as the people in power. Laura Collins-hughes, New York Times, "Review: Pulled Apart by ‘Love and Intrigue’," 8 June 2018 The acupuncture has worked its magic and my skin gleams like a conch shell, but my true moment of genuine wellness arrives not in Eden’s annex but on my last morning at sea, before the sun comes up. Sloane Crosley, Vogue, "All Aboard the Good Ship Self-Care," 12 Mar. 2019 There were bubble dresses and bows galore, sweeping trains and gleaming ostrich-feathered embroideries. Sarah Mower, Vogue, "The Top 10 Shows of London Fashion Week Fall 2019," 20 Feb. 2019 The hill’s landmark is the gleaming Notre-Dame Basilica, built in the late 1800s. Rick Steves' Europe, The Seattle Times, "Loving Lyon: France’s culinary capital is off the tourist path," 20 Feb. 2019 On an icy evening in late December, Italian chef Massimo Bottura is in his happy place, in a gleaming kitchen feeding family and friends. Jay Cheshes, WSJ, "Chef Massimo Bottura’s New Italian Inn," 5 Feb. 2019 The all-European semifinals even prompted NATO to issue a celebratory tweet from its gleaming new headquarters in Brussels, hailing a tournament that only a NATO member could now win. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The World Cup is a victory for the immigrant dream," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gleam.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gleam

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1508, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for gleam

Noun

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

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Dictionary Entries near gleam

GLBTQ

gld

glead

gleam

gleamer

gleamingly

gleamless

Statistics for gleam

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gleam

The first known use of gleam was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for gleam

gleam

noun

English Language Learners Definition of gleam

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small, bright light
: a bright or shining quality
: a small amount or sign of something

gleam

verb

English Language Learners Definition of gleam (Entry 2 of 2)

: to shine brightly

gleam

noun
\ ˈglēm How to pronounce gleam (audio) \

Kids Definition of gleam

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a faint, soft, or reflected light the first gleam of dawn
2 : a bright or shining look She had a gleam in her eyes.
3 : a short or slight appearance a gleam of hope

gleam

verb
gleamed; gleaming

Kids Definition of gleam (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to shine with a soft light
2 : to give out gleams of light

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More from Merriam-Webster on gleam

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gleam

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gleam

Spanish Central: Translation of gleam

Nglish: Translation of gleam for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gleam for Arabic Speakers

Comments on gleam

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