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[glimps] /glɪmps/
a very brief, passing look, sight, or view.
a momentary or slight appearance.
a vague idea; inkling.
Archaic. a gleam, as of light.
verb (used with object), glimpsed, glimpsing.
to catch or take a glimpse of.
verb (used without object), glimpsed, glimpsing.
to look briefly; glance (usually followed by at).
Archaic. to come into view; appear faintly.
Origin of glimpse
1350-1400; Middle English glimsen (v.); cognate with Middle High German glimsen to glow; akin to glimmer
Related forms
glimpser, noun
unglimpsed, adjective
Can be confused
glance, glimpse.
5. spot, spy, view, sight, espy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for glimpse
  • Walking from the train to his office, down the stifling streets, Avery caught a glimpse of her reflection in a store window.
  • It presents an often-confounding glimpse at the inner soul of foreign cultures.
  • Call me an amateur, but I'm still not over the wonder of catching a glimpse of the world as it was perhaps 600 million years ago.
  • The unremarkable suburban ranch Wendel calls home offers no glimpse of his executive-level salary.
  • And gives the world a glimpse of all.
  • Just a glimpse of her will change his life, he thinks.
  • It also may provide the first glimpse of a planet in the making.
  • Here's a glimpse at that work, with a few images produced by the ten largest ground-based optical telescopes.
  • But it is only ever an angle, a tantalising glimpse, which reminds you of how much you are not seeing.
  • The hike into a several-hundred-year-old tunnel of hardened lava gives you an inside glimpse of a volcano's power.
British Dictionary definitions for glimpse


a brief or incomplete view: to catch a glimpse of the sea
a vague indication: he had a glimpse of what the lecturer meant
(archaic) a glimmer of light
(transitive) to catch sight of briefly or momentarily
(mainly US) (intransitive) usually foll by at. to look (at) briefly or cursorily; glance (at)
(intransitive) (archaic) to shine faintly; glimmer
Derived Forms
glimpser, noun
Usage note
Glimpse is sometimes wrongly used where glance is meant: he gave a quick glance (not glimpse) at his watch
Word Origin
C14: of Germanic origin; compare Middle High German glimsen to glimmer
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 glimpse

c.1400, "to glisten, be dazzling," probably from Old English *glimsian "shine faintly," from Proto-Germanic *glim- (see gleam). If so, the intrusive -p- would be there to ease pronunciation. Sense of "catch a quick view" first recorded mid-15c. Related: Glimpsed. The noun is recorded from mid-16c.; earlier in verbal noun glimpsing (mid-14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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