shim·​mer | \ ˈshi-mər How to pronounce shimmer (audio) \
shimmered; shimmering\ ˈshi-​mə-​riŋ How to pronounce shimmer (audio) , ˈshim-​riŋ \

Definition of shimmer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to shine with a soft tremulous or fitful light : glimmer
2 : to reflect a wavering sometimes distorted visual image

transitive verb

: to cause to shimmer



Definition of shimmer (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a light that shimmers : subdued sparkle or sheen : glimmer
2 : a wavering sometimes distorted visual image usually resulting from heat-induced changes in atmospheric refraction

Other Words from shimmer


shimmery \ ˈshi-​mə-​rē How to pronounce shimmer (audio) , ˈshim-​rē \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for shimmer


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 shimmer in a Sentence

Verb The road shimmered in the heat. a sequined dress shimmering under the studio lights
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Until then, a long rendering of the final living bronze stretches huge and beautiful above the fountain and the pools where the great memorial will shimmer. Jeff Macgregor, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 May 2022 This is very much apparent in Kossoff’s 2006 painting King’s Cross Building Site, Early Morning, that seems to shimmer. Tom Teicholz, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2022 In the right light, the farm's mirrored panels shimmer like a sequined dress. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, 17 Mar. 2022 Pretty soon, on this line of thinking, every last aspect of modernity begins to shimmer with a simulated sheen. Jason Kehe, Wired, 9 Mar. 2022 The notes shimmer as B.B. King, resplendent in a blue sport jacket, slides his fingers across his red Gibson. Washington Post, 20 Jan. 2022 When the oil is hot enough to shimmer, place the chicken breasts in it and fry for 3 minutes on each side. Alysha Witwicki, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3 Mar. 2022 There are treats that shimmer and sparkle, others draped in icing. Washington Post, 1 Dec. 2021 The degradation of beard detail is hard to see without maxing the image out to its full 4K resolution (click on it to do so) or seeing the beard hairs shimmer in motion. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 12 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The giant, two-toned sequins flutter in the wind and shimmer in the sun so that the piece changes dimensions throughout the day. Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2022 The blendable, buildable tint imparts just the right amount of fresh-faced color and luminosity without superfluous shimmer. The Editors, Town & Country, 31 May 2022 The result is a barely audible but palpable shimmer around the beats that bleeds into the pauses — a subtle heightening of the ritualistic nature of the piece, and an indelible record of Schick’s life over the past couple of years. New York Times, 23 May 2022 In the Mood is our first blend of a Multi-Stick with a hint of shimmer that is truly more of a peachy glow. Marci Robin, Allure, 8 Apr. 2022 Simone Rocha, Erdem, and Nensi Dojaka have remade theirs to drip sequins and crystals while Miu Miu, Fendi, and Eckhaus Latta add shimmer to transparent layers. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 15 Mar. 2022 This holiday season, go smoky with Lawless Beauty’s The Glam One Eyeshadow Palette, which contains six rich-buttery matte shades and two ultra-reflective metallic shades that are sure to add a little shimmer to your holiday glam. Essence, 20 Dec. 2021 Chromeaddiction is the most exciting and doubles as an eyepaint and liquid liner in matte and shimmer finishes. ELLE, 18 May 2022 The result is luminous and cherubic, and the shimmer is subtle and pretty, with decent staying power underneath masks (and, once again, doesn't draw any extra attention to texture issues). Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, 20 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of shimmer


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


1821, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shimmer


Middle English schimeren, from Old English scimerian; akin to Old English scīnan to shine — more at shine

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

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Last Updated

2 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shimmer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for shimmer


shim·​mer | \ ˈshi-mər How to pronounce shimmer (audio) \
shimmered; shimmering

Kids Definition of shimmer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to shine with a wavering light : glimmer



Kids Definition of shimmer (Entry 2 of 2)

: a wavering light the shimmer of silver leaves

More from Merriam-Webster on shimmer

Nglish: Translation of shimmer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shimmer for Arabic Speakers


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