Synonyms & Antonyms of gleam

(Entry 1 of 2)

the steady giving off of the form of radiation that makes vision possible
  • the door opened a crack and let in a gleam of light from the hallway

Synonyms for gleam

Words Related to gleam

Near Antonyms for gleam



Synonyms of gleam (Entry 2 of 2)

to shoot forth bursts of light
  • fine china and stemware gleaming in the candlelight

Synonyms for gleam

Words Related to gleam

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About gleam

How does the verb gleam contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of gleam are flash, glimmer, glint, glisten, glitter, shimmer, and sparkle. While all these words mean "to send forth light," gleam suggests a steady light seen through an obscuring medium or against a dark background.

lights gleamed in the valley

When is flash a more appropriate choice than gleam?

While the synonyms flash and gleam are close in meaning, flash implies a sudden outburst of bright light.

lightning flashed

When might glimmer be a better fit than gleam?

While in some cases nearly identical to gleam, glimmer suggests a faint or wavering gleam.

a distant glimmering light

When could glint be used to replace gleam?

Although the words glint and gleam have much in common, glint implies a cold glancing light.

glinting steel

Where would glisten be a reasonable alternative to gleam?

The words glisten and gleam can be used in similar contexts, but glisten applies to the soft sparkle from a wet or oily surface.

glistening wet sidewalk

When is it sensible to use glitter instead of gleam?

The words glitter and gleam are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, glitter connotes a brilliant sparkling or gleaming.

glittering diamonds

When would shimmer be a good substitute for gleam?

In some situations, the words shimmer and gleam are roughly equivalent. However, shimmer means shining with a wavering light.

a shimmering satin dress

When can sparkle be used instead of gleam?

The meanings of sparkle and gleam largely overlap; however, sparkle suggests innumerable moving points of bright light.

the sparkling waters

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About gleam

Time Traveler for gleam

Time Traveler

The first known use of gleam was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Thesaurus Entries Near gleam




See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Gleam.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on gleam

Nglish: Translation of gleam for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gleam for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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