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

Keret’s stories shimmer with an energizing, evocative amalgam of comedy, both dark and light, and a high-level tolerance for the absurd. Daneet Steffens,, "‘Fly Already’ a story collection with a high tolerance for the absurd," 29 Aug. 2019 Nevermore — Angostura bitters, cucumber, Orgeat simple syrup, pineapple, lime and garnished with green pearl onion and violet Spirdust shimmer for $12.66. Rod Stafford Hagwood,, "Death or Glory goes all gory with Halloween pop-up," 27 Aug. 2019 But Bell makes that shell translucent; her character’s vulnerability shimmers through it, in a gorgeous everyday way. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Brittany Runs a Marathon Is a Heartfelt Comedy About the Strides We Take Toward Self-Improvement," 21 Aug. 2019 To Mesmerise Charlotte Tilbury is the queen of all things shimmer and glow, so unsurprisingly, her pigmented cream shadow is also the stuff of magic. Karina Hoshikawa,, "Net-a-Porter Is Having A 24-Hour Beauty Flash Sale — Here's What To Buy," 25 July 2019 Heat the remaining ½ cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Los Angeles Times, "Stay chill once you grill with these 3 summer soups," 21 Aug. 2019 The hills around Zihuatanejo are positively littered with properties that shimmer with the potential to offer a uniquely magnificent experience of their own, with plenty of options available across the budget spectrum. Timothy Schnupp,, "Zihuatanejo hotel proves ideal place to do a whole lot of nothing," 20 Aug. 2019 The foundation team was able to track the pair for 25 minutes; what mesmerized was not only the procreative union but the halo of filaments that radiated outward from the female’s body, shimmering with points of light. William J. Broad, New York Times, "The Creepy Anglerfish Comes to Light. (Just Don’t Get Too Close.)," 29 July 2019 For the same price, the indoor Roman Pool, which shimmers with deep blue glass tiles and is decorated with statues of Greek and Roman figures, will open the same evening hours to just 20 guests on July 20 and Oct. 19. Mary Forgione,, "You can swim in Hearst Castle's famous pools. It'll only cost you $1,250," 13 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Eight different times between 2016 and 2017, a team led by Björn Benneke of the University of Montreal measured K2-18 b’s transitory atmospheric shimmer with the Hubble Space Telescope. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Astronomers Find Water on an Exoplanet Twice the Size of Earth," 11 Sep. 2019 There's a poignant romantic shimmer, too, in a prom-night sequence — a veil of hopeful light that will soon be in shreds. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Waves': Film Review | Telluride 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 Behind the desk, the East River shimmers while the sun, now risen, beams through a window as small vessels float by and cars scurry along the Brooklyn Bridge like ants in a row. Kaelen Jones,, "'It Don't Stop': Jalen Rose's Work Days Are a Whirlwind," 11 July 2019 The nine-pan palette features eight eye shadows in shimmer and matte finishes, as well as a stunning champagne-pink highlighter in the center. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "BH Cosmetics Just Launched a New Mini Zodiac Palette for Aries," 19 Mar. 2019 Keep it all in balance with a more subdued top and shoes, with a bag that has just a hint of shimmer. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "6 Chic New Years Eve Outfit Ideas," 17 Dec. 2018 Today, more than 30 years after the fire, the Central Library shimmers like a distinctly urban phoenix. Jane Kamensky, WSJ, "‘The Library Book’ Review: The People’s Palace," 11 Oct. 2018 From the languid sway of the bay laurel trees to the disco shimmer of the quaking aspens to the Dude-like serenity of the redwoods, a vague drugginess wafts over the place. Chris Colin, Outside Online, "Drawing a Line in the Sand Over River Rights," 30 May 2018 The cut of the gemstone also makes a difference in the rock’s shimmer. Southern Living, "Diamond (Alternatives) Are A Girl's Best Friend," 19 Apr. 2018

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

20 Sep 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

Comments on shimmer

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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