glis·​ten | \ ˈgli-sᵊn How to pronounce glisten (audio) \
glistened; glistening\ ˈgli-​sᵊn-​iŋ How to pronounce glisten (audio) \

Definition of glisten

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to give off a sparkling or lustrous reflection of or as if of a moist or polished surface



Definition of glisten (Entry 2 of 2)

Choose the Right Synonym for glisten


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 glisten in a Sentence

Verb Rain made the streets glisten. The streets glistened in the rain. Her eyes glistened with tears. a long beach of glistening sand
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Zellige tiles glisten in this small galley kitchen designed by Shapeless Studio. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 14 June 2022 The formula will keep you hydrated, while also providing shine to make your tats glisten in the sun. ELLE, 1 June 2022 Floating in the lazy river-like current, swaths of tiny life forms glisten in the sunlight. Algae. Melina Walling, The Arizona Republic, 19 May 2022 The finished rice should glisten red, each grain slicked with a touch of pork fat, but not be clumpy. Washington Post, 21 Apr. 2022 Truck nuts glisten off the back bumper, swinging low with challenging and poetic weight. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 23 Feb. 2022 Rendered mostly in eddies of white and various blues, the semiabstract seascapes glisten with hard-edge acrylic pigments and shiny materials such as glass beads. Washington Post, 25 Feb. 2022 To make sure the seasoning sticks, heat the chips on a rimmed sheet pan in a 375-degree oven for 8-10 minutes until the oil in the chips starts to glisten. Casey Barber, CNN, 9 Feb. 2022 In the foreground, the lights of Mill Avenue glisten bellow and the sunset reflects off Tempe Town Lake. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, 4 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Richie is almost back at the water fountain, eyes a-glisten with memory. Danyel Smith, Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2022 Orb spider webs glisten in tall grassy spots on dewy mornings. Jim Gilbert, Star Tribune, 22 July 2021 But according to celebrity makeup artist Lisa Aharon-who works with actresses Zosia Mamet and Rachel Brosnahan-glittery, glisten-y formulas are the ones to stay away from. Nikki Brown,, 22 June 2021 The adornment was little, but there was character in Halston’s swirling batik treatments or the aquatic glisten of an uncolored sequin paillette. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 14 May 2021 In the clips, dark metallic polyhedrons rotate on loop and glisten—a reference to Lemercier’s installations in the physical world. Gregory Barber, Wired, 6 Mar. 2021 Refined details began to emerge: the woman’s warm skin tone, the glisten of her jewelry, the elegance of her lace collar. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Feb. 2020 As the shoot moved to Gaye's backyard, a light snow began to fall, lending a peaceful glisten to the singer’s black jacket. Brian Mccollum,, 12 July 2020 Magic is everywhere — not simply in the movie's narrative but in its design: drops of water glisten and sparkle, the sun breaks through the clouds with impossibly bright slivers of light, a prism of colors in brisk pinks, purples, and blues. Maya Phillips, TheWeek, 22 Jan. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of glisten


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


1840, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for glisten

Verb and Noun

Middle English glistnen, from Old English glisnian; akin to Old English glisian to glitter, geolu yellow — more at yellow

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Time Traveler for glisten

Time Traveler

The first known use of glisten was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

18 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Glisten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for glisten


glis·​ten | \ ˈgli-sᵊn How to pronounce glisten (audio) \
glistened; glistening

Kids Definition of glisten

: to shine with a soft reflected light

More from Merriam-Webster on glisten

Nglish: Translation of glisten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of glisten for Arabic Speakers


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