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[gleem] /glim/
a flash or beam of light:
the gleam of a lantern in the dark.
a dim or subdued light.
a brief or slight manifestation or occurrence; trace:
a gleam of hope.
verb (used without object)
to send forth a gleam or gleams.
to appear suddenly and clearly like a flash of light.
Origin of gleam
before 1000; (noun) Middle English glem(e), Old English glǣm; cognate with Old High German gleimo glowworm; akin to Old Saxon glīmo brightness; (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun See glimmer, glimpse
Related forms
gleamingly, adverb
gleamless, adjective
outgleam, verb (used with object)
ungleaming, adjective
1. Gleam, glimmer, beam, ray are terms for a stream of light. Gleam denotes a not very brilliant, intermittent or nondirectional stream of light. Glimmer indicates a nondirectional light that is feeble and unsteady: a faint glimmer of moonlight. Beam usually means a directional, and therefore smaller, stream: the beam from a searchlight. Ray usually implies a still smaller amount of light than a beam, a single line of light: a ray through a pinprick in a window shade. 4. shine, glimmer, flash, glitter, sparkle, beam. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gleaming
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Two eyes near the door were gleaming with the light of fiendish triumph.

  • They see no gleaming roofs and high-lifted statues and joyful games.

    Buried Cities, Part 2 Jennie Hall
  • Light was not gleaming over the tops of the forest next morning before I was on the beach ready to embark for Gallinas.

    Captain Canot Brantz Mayer
  • But to-night some gleaming wave from a greater sea had lifted them, and borne them on.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • Then the pent-up cry bursts forth in frantic volume, for the gleaming horns have done their work, and buen toro!

British Dictionary definitions for gleaming


a small beam or glow of light, esp reflected light
a brief or dim indication: a gleam of hope
verb (intransitive)
to send forth or reflect a beam of light
to appear, esp briefly: intelligence gleamed in his eyes
Derived Forms
gleaming, adjective
gleamy, adjective
gleamingly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English glǣm; related to Old Norse gljā to flicker, Old High German gleimo glow-worm, glīmo brightness, Old Irish glē bright
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gleaming



Old English glæm "brilliant light; brightness, splendor, radiance," from Proto-Germanic *glaimiz (cf. Old Saxon glimo "brightness;" Middle High German glim "spark," gleime "glowworm;" German glimmen "to glimmer, glow;" Old Norse glija "to shine, glitter"), from root *glim-, from PIE *ghel- "to shine, glitter, glow" (see glass).


early 13c., from gleam (n). Related: Gleamed; gleaming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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