glim·​mer | \ˈgli-mər \
glimmered; glimmering\ˈglim-​riŋ, ˈgli-​mə-​ \

Definition of glimmer 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to shine faintly or unsteadily The candles glimmered in the windows.

b : to give off a subdued unsteady reflection Her white satin dress glimmered in the dusk.

2 : to appear indistinctly with a faintly luminous quality



Definition of glimmer (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a feeble or intermittent light the first glimmer of dawn

b : a subdued unsteady shining or sparkle

2a : a dim perception or faint idea : inkling gave them a glimmer of what they could expect

b : hint, spark a glimmer of intelligence a glimmer of hope

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Choose the Right Synonym for glimmer


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

Examples of glimmer in a Sentence


Candles glimmered in the windows of the inn. Moonlight glimmered on the pond.


the glimmer of a distant star Their first meeting with the new boss gave them a glimmer of what they could expect.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Natural hair styles like locs, cornrows, and afros were proudly displayed above the crowds; ruffled pant suits, wide cut motorcycle pants, and flower crowns stretched across the lawns; blue, glitter, and dark shadows glimmered across the eyelids. Elijah Craig Ii, Teen Vogue, "25 Natural Hairstyles from Afropunk 2018 to Try Now," 28 Aug. 2018 My silver pen knife, now discarded on the floor, glimmered in the soft yellow glow from an old Edinburgh streetlight shining in from outside the window. Shirley Manson, New York Times, "Shirley Manson: The First Time I Cut Myself," 3 July 2018 The anticorrosive, glimmering metal became a critical material for surgical tools and home goods. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 In the on-set kitchen, the pots and pans on the stove had just the right amount of dent and scuff, trays of half-full wine glasses glimmered red, gold and pink, like liquid valentines. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "‘Sweetbitter’ Is a Coming-of-Age Story, With Wine Pairings," 24 Apr. 2018 Think modern acrylic accents, glimmering copper and the Danish way of staying cozy even as the temperature outside warms up. Kelsey Kloss, ELLE Decor, "7 Best Spring Home Decor Trends To Refresh Your Home," 22 Feb. 2017 The Atrium on the Disney Dream Also featured on the Freefrom show, this gorgeous wedding setting glimmered with Art Deco-era wonder aboard the Disney Dream. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "6 Incredible Disney Wedding Venues Mickey and Minnie Could Only Dream Of," 14 June 2018 At his flagship restaurant in downtown Hartford, three giant overhead fans spun lazily as the sound system played rowdy blues, and a trio of colossal, stainless-steel Cookshack smokers glimmered in the kitchen. Rand Richards Cooper,, "Talking With The Bear: Jamie McDonald Of Bear's Smokehouse," 21 June 2018 Trump is hoping those glimmering karats will work better than standard carrots. Brett Bruen, Time, "Donald Trump Has Successfully Cleaned Up North Korea's Brand," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Now, for fans who have been missing the franchise, there’s a new glimmer of hope — or at least an opportunity to revisit the ‘Verse, with James Lovegrove and Nancy Holder’s new novel Big Damn Hero. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Big Damn Hero is a familiar trip back to Joss Whedon’s Firefly universe," 20 Nov. 2018 The party has a glimmer of hope this year with superstar candidate Beto O’Rourke pulling in record amounts of money in his bid to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Michelle R. Smith, The Seattle Times, "Even in high-interest election year, top races go unopposed," 25 Oct. 2018 San Diego had a glimmer of hope last month that maybe the tide was turning on the region’s seemingly intractable homeless problem. Michael Smolens,, "Progress is hard to come by in San Diego's fight against homelessness," 22 June 2018 There were other glimmers of hope, even though all but one statewide race was topped by a Democrat. Washington Post, "California Republicans see ray of hope in Democratic bastion," 6 June 2018 The branding that emerged around them has, at points, had a glimmer of utility to it, serving as a way to establish the authenticity and reliability of a particular thing from a particular source. Amanda Hess, New York Times, "What Happens When People and Companies Are Both Just ‘Brands’?," 1 May 2018 Like many others, I was mesmerized by the cover art, which had the definite glimmer of evil. Ron Hart, Billboard, "Iron Maiden's 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' at 30: Artists Reflect on Then-Controversial Metal Classic," 11 Apr. 2018 The second Thursday chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on North Korea, the one major issue where there is a glimmer of hope for progress. Fox News, "UN to caution against populism in high-level week," 25 Sep. 2018 But there's a glimmer of hope: Delta Air Lines is currently testing upscale dining in the back of the plane. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Delta Is Testing Out 3-Course Meals in Economy," 1 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glimmer.' 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 glimmer


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


1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for glimmer


Middle English glimeren; akin to Old English glǣm gleam


see glimmer entry 1

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Learn More about glimmer

Dictionary Entries near glimmer





glimmer gowk

glimmer ice


Statistics for glimmer

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for glimmer

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

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More Definitions for glimmer



English Language Learners Definition of glimmer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to shine in a weak, faint, or unsteady way



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

: a weak, unsteady light

: a faint idea or suggestion of something

: a small amount or sign of something


glim·​mer | \ˈgli-mər \
glimmered; glimmering

Kids Definition of glimmer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to shine faintly and unsteadily



Kids Definition of glimmer (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a faint unsteady light

2 : a faint suggestion a glimmer of trouble

3 : a small amount a glimmer of hope

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More from Merriam-Webster on glimmer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with glimmer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for glimmer

Spanish Central: Translation of glimmer

Nglish: Translation of glimmer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of glimmer for Arabic Speakers

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