\ˈshēn \

Definition of sheen 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 archaic : beautiful

2 archaic : shining, resplendent


sheened; sheening; sheens

Definition of sheen (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to be bright : show a sheen



Definition of sheen (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : a bright or shining condition : brightness

b : a subdued glitter approaching but short of optical reflection

c : a lustrous surface imparted to textiles through finishing processes or use of shiny yarns

2 : a textile exhibiting notable sheen

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sheen


sheeny \ˈshē-nē \ adjective

Synonyms for sheen

Synonyms: Noun

burnish, gloss, luminance, luster (or lustre), polish, shine

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of sheen in a Sentence


Her hair has a sheen to it. polished the metal until it had an even sheen

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

During the past year, the streaming giant has released seven original movies that have the glossy sheen of a 2003 romantic comedy, minus the offensive tropes. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Netflix Is Making the Rom-Com Cool Again," 10 July 2018 Groff bestows the tales of threatened kids with the surreal sheen of fairy tales. Lisa Zeidner,, "New stories from Lauren Groff, who wrote President Obama's favorite novel in 2015," 4 June 2018 While Square’s stock price initially rose on news of its Bitcoin business, the sheen among investors may have worn off. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Square's Bitcoin Business Is Struggling to Make Money," 2 May 2018 Between the rise of lip oils, the resurgence of lip gloss, and the ubiquity of tinted balms, sheen is having a moment — one that doesn't have an end in sight. Marci Robin, Allure, "Exclusive: Maybelline New York Is Launching a Super-Shiny Oil-Infused Lipstick Line in June," 21 May 2018 Aneth is the only one of nine Navajo chapters with land in Utah that has opposed the monument; Benally’s stance gives the Utah delegation’s NIMBYism a sheen of credibility. Abe Streep, Outside Online, "The Tribes v. Donald Trump," 1 May 2018 Even if their sheen may be diminished by one-fifth, SHINee doesn’t disappoint to brighten up the Korean music scene with their Story of Light. Tamar Herman, Billboard, "SHINee Commemorates 10th Anniversary With 'The Story of Light' EP," 29 May 2018 The case of Rudolf Mosse’s missing bronze fountain may seem, in the hierarchy of high-profile art crime, to be a relatively minor mystery, lacking the sheen of intrigue that surrounds major heists or masterful forgeries. Berthold Steinhilber, Smithsonian, "The Lost Maidens of Berlin," 24 May 2018 Lucia Pica, global creative makeup and color designer—has bottled that upper-deck sheen in a fresh new format. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "5 Self-Tanning Mists for Your Best Summer Glow Yet," 25 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of sheen


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sheen


Middle English shene, from Old English scīene; akin to Old English scēawian to look — more at show

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sheen

Dictionary Entries near sheen








Statistics for sheen

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sheen

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sheen



English Language Learners Definition of sheen

: a soft, smooth, shiny quality


\ˈshēn \

Kids Definition of sheen

: a bright or shining condition : luster

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on sheen

What made you want to look up sheen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!