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

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Other Words from shimmer


shimmery \ ˈshi-​mə-​rē How to pronounce shimmery (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


The road shimmered in the heat. a sequined dress shimmering under the studio lights

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Heat 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Washington Post, "We’d eat these garlicky, spiced meatballs and chickpeas on anything," 17 Sep. 2019 Best time: While the bridge shines any time of day, lights framing its upper ledge shimmer in the water as the intricate lamps stationed along the road lend an ethereal glow at dusk and after dark. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Here are 10 of Arizona's most photogenic spots. Some of them might surprise you," 26 July 2019 At Sensorio, an immersive art venue in the area, more than 58,000 solar-powered spheres shimmer in Paso Robles' fields. CBS News, "American Wonders: California's glowing "Field of Light"," 23 July 2019 Tsip is a vaguely opalescent pink, shimmering in the sunlight. David Canfield,, "Ready for more Slayer? Get a first look at Kiersten White's next Buffy-based novel," 17 July 2019 As the western skies shimmered in the afterglow, the San Francisco Bay’s waters, its bridges and the hillsides from Berkeley to Hayward and beyond became a living gallery of golden images. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "Epic Bay Area sunset: 15 great Instagram shots of Thursday night’s colors," 28 June 2019 And Jesy's look, which was on the more subdued end of the spectrum, featured a somewhat monochromatic palette of pinks and purples, shimmering in shadow on her top lids and the inner corners of her eyes. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Little Mix Celebrates Pride with Rainbow Makeup and a Message for LGBTQ+ Fans," 9 July 2018 In a medium saucepan over medium, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering., "SOBA WITH MISO BUTTER AND ASPARAGUS," 11 Sep. 2019 In a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Special To The Washington Post, The Denver Post, "With tuna, eggs and potatoes, this Tunisian fricassee sandwich hits all the right notes," 10 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But of course, this moisturizer has benefits far beyond a base for body shimmer. Marci Robin, Allure, "Cardi B Used This Drugstore Face Cream as Body Lotion for Her Scenes in Hustlers," 15 Sep. 2019 This shade is a strong, dark red and has a shimmer finish. Brittany Talarico,, "I Spent 7 Minutes in Beauty Heaven with Zoë Kravitz and Her New YSL Lipstick Line," 26 Aug. 2019 Gently shaken, the bells created a shimmer in the air Sunday afternoon as Africatown joined in a national Day of Healing. al, "‘Day of Healing’ has special ring in Africatown," 25 Aug. 2019 Four-term New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Harvard intellectual who never lost his faculty club manner, shimmers as a rare exception. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Arguing the World," 15 Aug. 2019 Makeup products packed with shimmer are having a major moment. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Companies Created Environmentally Friendly Biodegradable Glitter," 1 Aug. 2019 Both are shimmer free, subtle, and give me a natural (i.e. not orange) kiss of sun. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "This $52 Bronzer Literally Makes My Skin Look Airbrushed," 18 July 2019 Bad body shimmers are sticky, messy, and melt all over your clothes. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "The 5 Best Body Oils For the Ultimate Summer Glow-Up," 6 June 2019 Off in the distance, the surface of a pond shimmers, its water lilies taking in the last of the summer sun. Peter Marteka,, "A place in the Berkshires to see the foliage change," 6 Sep. 2019

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.

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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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Dictionary Entries near shimmer






shimmy shirt


Statistics for shimmer

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shimmer

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

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More Definitions for shimmer



English Language Learners Definition of shimmer

: to shine with a light that seems to move slightly


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on shimmer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shimmer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shimmer

Spanish Central: Translation of shimmer

Nglish: Translation of shimmer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shimmer for Arabic Speakers

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