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[glis-uh n] /ˈglɪs ən/
verb (used without object)
to reflect a sparkling light or a faint intermittent glow; shine lustrously.
a glistening; sparkle.
Origin of glisten
before 1000; Middle English glis(t)nen (v.), Old English glisnian, derivative of glisian to glitter; see -en1
Related forms
glisteningly, adverb
unglistening, adjective
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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verb (intransitive)
(of a wet or glossy surface) to gleam by reflecting light: wet leaves glisten in the sunlight
(of light) to reflect with brightness: the sunlight glistens on wet leaves
(rare) a gleam or gloss
Derived Forms
glisteningly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English glisnian; related to glisian to glitter, Middle High German glistern
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 glisten

Old English glisnian "to glisten, gleam," from Proto-Germanic *glis- (cf. Old Frisian glisa "to shine," Middle High German glistern "to sparkle," Old Danish glisse "to shine"), from PIE *ghleis-, from root *ghel- "to shine, glitter, glow, be warm" (see glass). Related: Glistened; glistening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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