glis·​ten | \ ˈgli-sᵊn How to pronounce glisten (audio) \
glistened; glistening\ ˈgli-​sᵊn-​iŋ How to pronounce glisten (audio) \

Definition of glisten

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to give off a sparkling or lustrous reflection of or as if of a moist or polished surface



Definition of glisten (Entry 2 of 2)

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Choose the Right Synonym for glisten


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 glisten in a Sentence

Verb Rain made the streets glisten. The streets glistened in the rain. Her eyes glistened with tears. a long beach of glistening sand
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These days, John sleeps in alleys that glisten at night when the street lamps' light hits shards of broken glass. Meg Kissinger, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Aug. 2021 Dangling from the bells are clear plexiglass strips that turn and glisten in the sunlight. New York Times, 1 July 2021 Below the pigments in the skin glisten blue and green reflectors and structures that scatter white light. New York Times, 9 July 2021 In the center there is pale green amethyst with oro verde lime quartz either side that’ll glisten in the sun. Felicity Carter, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Almost skin-like for deeper skin tones, this Natasha Denona All Over Glow Face & Body Shimmer in Powder makes your skin glisten with a healthy luminosity. Porsche Harwell, Essence, 18 May 2021 Audience members hug their pod mates and eyes glisten with tears. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2021 Salmonberries glisten like small bursts of orange and red fish roe, nestled in the greenery beside magenta flowers and the hard, green clusters of berries still to ripen. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, 30 Apr. 2021 Serrated leaves and flowers glisten with what appears to be a light frost, a promising sign for a cash crop nearing maturity. Mark Pazniokas,, 22 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Orb spider webs glisten in tall grassy spots on dewy mornings. Jim Gilbert, Star Tribune, 22 July 2021 But according to celebrity makeup artist Lisa Aharon-who works with actresses Zosia Mamet and Rachel Brosnahan-glittery, glisten-y formulas are the ones to stay away from. Nikki Brown,, 22 June 2021 The adornment was little, but there was character in Halston’s swirling batik treatments or the aquatic glisten of an uncolored sequin paillette. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 14 May 2021 In the clips, dark metallic polyhedrons rotate on loop and glisten—a reference to Lemercier’s installations in the physical world. Gregory Barber, Wired, 6 Mar. 2021 Refined details began to emerge: the woman’s warm skin tone, the glisten of her jewelry, the elegance of her lace collar. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Feb. 2020 As the shoot moved to Gaye's backyard, a light snow began to fall, lending a peaceful glisten to the singer’s black jacket. Brian Mccollum,, 12 July 2020 Magic is everywhere — not simply in the movie's narrative but in its design: drops of water glisten and sparkle, the sun breaks through the clouds with impossibly bright slivers of light, a prism of colors in brisk pinks, purples, and blues. Maya Phillips, TheWeek, 22 Jan. 2020 Exuding an air of power and sophistication, Mnonja literally sparkles from head to toe—her hair, makeup, jewelry, clothes, fingernails and shoes all glisten with rhinestones. Anne Showalter, Smithsonian, 9 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glisten.' 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 glisten


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


1840, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for glisten

Verb and Noun

Middle English glistnen, from Old English glisnian; akin to Old English glisian to glitter, geolu yellow — more at yellow

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Time Traveler for glisten

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for glisten

Last Updated

22 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Glisten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for glisten



English Language Learners Definition of glisten

: to shine with light reflected off a wet surface


glis·​ten | \ ˈgli-sᵊn How to pronounce glisten (audio) \
glistened; glistening

Kids Definition of glisten

: to shine with a soft reflected light

More from Merriam-Webster on glisten

Nglish: Translation of glisten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of glisten for Arabic Speakers


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