1. glimmer, gleam, glitter. Glisten, shimmer, sparkle refer to different ways in which light is reflected from surfaces. Glisten refers to a lustrous light, as from something sleek or wet, or it may refer to myriads of tiny gleams reflected from small surfaces: Wet fur glistens. Snow glistens in the sunlight. Shimmer refers to the changing play of light on a (generally moving) surface, as of water or silk: Moonbeams shimmer on water. Silk shimmers in a high light. To sparkle is to give off sparks or small ignited particles, or to send forth small but brilliant gleams, sometimes by reflection: A diamond sparkles with numerous points of light.