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glim·​mer ˈgli-mər How to pronounce glimmer (audio)
glimmered; glimmering ˈgli-mə-riŋ How to pronounce glimmer (audio)

intransitive verb

: to shine faintly or unsteadily
The candles glimmered in the windows.
: to give off a subdued unsteady reflection
Her white satin dress glimmered in the dusk.
: to appear indistinctly with a faintly luminous quality


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: a feeble or intermittent light
the first glimmer of dawn
: a subdued unsteady shining or sparkle
: a dim perception or faint idea : inkling
gave them a glimmer of what they could expect
: hint, spark
a glimmer of intelligence
a glimmer of hope
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

Example Sentences

Verb Candles glimmered in the windows of the inn. Moonlight glimmered on the pond. Noun the glimmer of a distant star Their first meeting with the new boss gave them a glimmer of what they could expect.
Recent Examples on the Web
Breaking up the monochromatic color palette was a pair of glimmering drop earrings cascading with lilac raindrop gemstones. Michelle Lee, Peoplemag, 25 May 2023 Sheer mermaid gowns and dresses with sinuous three-dimensional florets glimmered with paillettes and tulle. Thomas Adamson, ajc, 4 Mar. 2023 Wearing a black suit, black sunglasses, leather gloves and a cream tie paired with a glimmering tie knot broach, Usher embraced the theme. USA TODAY, 2 May 2023 Meanwhile, the Royal School of Needlework (of which the Queen Consort is patron) worked to create new appliques for the new royals in glimmering gold thread (Elizabeth and Philip’s originals will be conserved in the Royal Collection). Anna Fixsen, ELLE Decor, 2 May 2023 While hiking in a cleared area of a Tuscan forest northeast of Livorno, a member of the Livorno Paleontological Archaeological Group spotted a few glimmering coins in the dirt in November 2021. Taylor Nicioli, CNN, 1 May 2023 Portuguese promotional videos from the ’60s and ’70s advertise guests cruising through the bush in groovy VW microbuses and sitting beside a glimmering swimming pool at Chitengo Camp. Mary Holland, Robb Report, 22 Apr. 2023 Slurp some swoon-worthy oysters at Dale's Seafood on the shores of this glimmering natural wonder. Perri O. Blumberg, Country Living, 18 Apr. 2023 Beyond becoming a glimmering trophy for the cover, the 21-year-old poses in the kind of fashion looks that put her on Vogue‘s radar to host their Met Gala red carpet in 2022 and crowned her a Louis Vuitton brand ambassador. Kimberly Aleah, Rolling Stone, 17 Apr. 2023
There were glimmers of hope at the end of last year, after Biden met Xi in Bali in November, that the relationship between the world’s two largest economies might be improving. Lily Kuo, Washington Post, 12 May 2023 The surprise rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, whose rivalry fueled the war, has raised a glimmer of hope for a breakthrough in resolving one of the world’s worst crises. Shuaib Almosawa, New York Times, 10 Apr. 2023 And glimmers of Bronny’s promise — 15 points and the game-winning layup against St. Vincent-St. Mary as a freshman — were dimmed by injury and competition within the Sierra Canyon program. Luca Evans, Los Angeles Times, 28 Mar. 2023 Mifepristone started out as a glimmer in the mind of our dashing French biochemist, Étienne-Émile Baulieu, in the 1970s. Eric Boodman, STAT, 10 Feb. 2023 In the Dark Ages of broadcast TV, that qualifies as a glimmer of light. Leah Greenblatt,, 20 Jan. 2023 Still, many Brazilians see a glimmer of hope in the return of Lula, who was inaugurated as president on Jan. 1, beginning his third, nonconsecutive term after narrowly defeating Jair Bolsonaro last fall. Ana Ionova, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Jan. 2023 Many nevertheless see the new leadership in Pakistan as a glimmer of hope. Devika Rao, The Week, 1 Dec. 2022 Although there is a glimmer of good news, the U.S. will likely see a challenging job market for white-collar professionals for the next four to six months. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 5 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'glimmer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle English glimeren; akin to Old English glǣm gleam

First Known Use


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


1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near glimmer

Cite this Entry

“Glimmer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a feeble or unsteady light
: a soft shimmer
: a faint idea : inkling
: a small amount : bit
glimmer verb

More from Merriam-Webster on glimmer

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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