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)

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Serrated leaves and flowers glisten with what appears to be a light frost, a promising sign for a cash crop nearing maturity. Mark Pazniokas,, "As Connecticut edges closer to legalizing recreational marijuana, pot growers are ready to do business," 22 Feb. 2021 The treetops don’t glisten too often in Dallas-Fort Worth, but the area has seen a few white Christmases. Dallas News, "Cold front to bring blustery winds, a chilly Christmas to Dallas-Fort Worth," 22 Dec. 2020 Even the Jaguars’ aging stadium appeared to glisten for the first time in decades. Mark Long,, "Mayor: Jets’ win could be defining moment for woeful Jaguars," 21 Dec. 2020 Details of orchestration that are muted in other recordings glisten throughout this one. Howard Reich,, "A revelatory new recording of Gershwin’s landmark Concerto in F," 18 Nov. 2020 Other structures create similar effects: for example, helically arranged cellulose microfibers make marble berries glisten with a shiny, metallic shade of blue. Meg Wilcox, Scientific American, "A Butterfly’s Brilliant Blue Wings Lead to Less Toxic Paint," 13 Nov. 2020 Its offerings include earthy wild mushroom and sage ravioli that glisten with white truffle oil and lobster and arugula tortellini laced with piquant lemon cream and caviar. Joanna O'leary, Chron, "Ravioli, tortellini, agnolotti: Stuff yourself with Houston's best stuffed pasta," 27 Oct. 2020 The transition — from hyperreal cooked crabs that glisten in a bowl in the first 30 minutes of the film to amorphous, gooey Candyland critters 30 minutes later — is jarring. Mark Kennedy, Star Tribune, "Review: Charming 'Over the Moon' gets lost in lunar orbit," 20 Oct. 2020 All three are now repainted and glisten in the sun, thanks to owners Liverpool Township trustees and the Valley City Community Group. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "Fun ways to take some of the scary out of Halloween: Whit & Whimsey," 16 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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, "Pennsylvania Museum Discovers Unidentified Rembrandt Portrait in Its Collection," 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,, "Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' still relevant and revealing, 50 years on," 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, "Weathering With You," 22 Jan. 2020 Exuding an air of power and sophistication, Mnonja literally sparkles from head to toe—her hair, makeup, jewelry, clothes, fingernails and shoes all glisten with rhinestones. Anne Showalter, Smithsonian, "The Fierce Pride and Passion of Rhinestone Fashion," 9 Aug. 2019 The fish should have a bit of a glisten to it and seem plump and firm. Emma Wartzman, Bon Appétit, "Can You Actually Swap Fish In a Recipe?," 1 Aug. 2019 The glisten sinks in a minute later and imparts a velvety texture to your skin, which made spreading on my mineral sunscreen afterward easy—no small feat. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "Laneige's New Moisturizer Looks Like Whipped Cream for Your Face," 28 Sep. 2018 The sugars will caramelize until the ribs are dark brown, and the salty-spicy-sweet glaze will make the whole thing glisten. Alyse Whitney, Bon Appetit, "You’d Never Know These BBQ Ribs Were Cooked in the Instant Pot," 20 June 2018 Pale pink scrims of raw Hamachi ($16) glisten with bright plum sauce and pop with the sharp tang of pickled onion. Michael Nagrant, RedEye Chicago, "At BLVD, you'll find approachable fine dining in a glamorous setting," 6 Oct. 2017

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.

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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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Statistics for glisten

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Glisten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for glisten



English Language Learners Definition of glisten

: to shine with light reflected off a wet surface


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

Kids Definition of glisten

: to shine with a soft reflected light

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