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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from shimmer


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

Verb The road shimmered in the heat. a sequined dress shimmering under the studio lights
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The early-appearing butterflies—led by a spritelike Nathalia Arja with an athletic urgency that causes her sleek wings to vibrate and shimmer—prime the choreography’s buoyant action to take off and soar. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, 18 Oct. 2021 Siwa is honoring her roots here with a gigantic bow on her shoulder, shimmer in her crimped hair, and a neon outfit. Jenny Singer, Glamour, 15 Oct. 2021 Homeowner Jenni Yolo opted for windows instead of wall cabinets, allowing the whole kitchen (and the adjacent dining and living rooms) to shimmer in sunlight. Sarah Wolf Halverson And Jenni Yolo, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 Oct. 2021 And those that shimmer never go overboard into glitter territory. Marci Robin, Allure, 22 Sep. 2021 It’s nothing like New England, of course, except on the eastern side of the Sierra where the aspen trees shimmer in fall splendor. Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Sep. 2021 That’s to say, a bit more response in some of the higher high frequencies would have helped cymbals and other percussion shimmer a little more. Maren Estrada, BGR, 23 Aug. 2021 While many Gotlib designs feature white, yellow, brown and black diamonds, others shimmer with rubies, sapphires, moonstone, onyx and even pearls. Kyle Roderick, Forbes, 15 Sep. 2021 As a deep blue dusk started nesting in the treetops, their upper boughs started to shimmer and hiss with rising wind. Washington Post, 2 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On the illustrative eye makeup front, there were knife-like strokes of eyeliner and twinkling washes of shimmer punctuated by splashes of bright color. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 6 Oct. 2021 Moving away from the sober colors of his last collection, Ize used gold shimmer and bright patterns for an optimistic view of spring. Time, 29 Sep. 2021 Moving away from the sober colors of his last collection, Ize used gold shimmer and bright patterns for an optimistic view of spring. Thomas Adamson, ajc, 28 Sep. 2021 Let your hands in on the high-shine fun with a metallic shimmer nail polish that comes in two brilliant shades. Essence, 20 Sep. 2021 Underneath a canopy of trees, with a shimmer of sun glistening through the leaves, Sean Stover experienced one of the worst days of his life. oregonlive, 9 Aug. 2021 Add some shimmer to your Halloween table with these gorgeous metallic plates. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Sep. 2021 Scroll on for the best summer + beach bag essentials that will make your brown skin shimmer! Essence, 2 July 2021 In her first collaboration with a brand, Princess Olympia of Greece joined forces with The Organic Pharmacy to create a hydrating elixir with a subtle hint of shimmer. Jessica Ourisman, Harper's BAZAAR, 15 Sep. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About shimmer

Time Traveler for shimmer

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near shimmer




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for shimmer

Last Updated

24 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

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

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on shimmer

Nglish: Translation of shimmer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shimmer for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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