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[shim-er] /ˈʃɪm ər/
verb (used without object)
to shine with or reflect a subdued, tremulous light; gleam faintly.
to appear to quiver or vibrate in faint light or while reflecting heat waves.
a subdued, tremulous light or gleam.
a quivering or vibrating motion or image as produced by reflecting faint light or heat waves.
Origin of shimmer
before 1100; Middle English schimeren, s(c)hemeren, Old English scimrian; cognate with Dutch schemeren, German schimmern to glisten
Related forms
shimmeringly, adverb
unshimmering, adjective
unshimmeringly, adverb
1. glimmer. See glisten. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shimmer
  • Distinctiveness is key for the many colleges that lack the shimmer of national prestige, not to mention a football team.
  • Slowly the dawn began, and again she seemed to see the shimmer of a face-such a face as one sees in the coals of a dying fire.
  • And there actually were mothers in those jars-the barest shimmer on the surface.
  • The picture invites a contemplative mood, during which the colours seem to shimmer.
  • The words will shimmer on the screen, but the sentences will be quickly forgotten.
  • The pearly outer sheathing is translucent, obscuring the glowing interior and giving it a muffled shimmer.
  • The planet won't shimmer its brightest until next month.
  • Not everything the lab looks at is as subtle as a shimmer, though.
  • Dark alleys shimmer with multicolored silks, shot through with gold thread or spangled with sequins.
  • It was a sweltering day to begin with, but the added heat of the lingering fire made everything around us shimmer.
British Dictionary definitions for shimmer


(intransitive) to shine with a glistening or tremulous light
a faint, glistening, or tremulous light
Derived Forms
shimmering, adjective
shimmeringly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English scimerian; related to Middle Low German schēmeren to grow dark, Old Norse skimi brightness
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 shimmer

Old English scimerian "to glitter, shimmer, glisten, shine," related to (perhaps a frequentative of) scimian "to shine," from Proto-Germanic *skim- (cf. Swedish skimra, Dutch schemeren "to glitter," German schimmern), from PIE root *skai- "to gleam, to shine" (see shine (v.). Related: Shimmered; shimmering.


"a tremulous light," 1821, from shimmer (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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