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Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near gleam

Cite this Entry

“Gleam.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

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