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2017 Word of the Year

glimpse

[glimps] /glɪmps/
noun
1.
a very brief, passing look, sight, or view.
2.
a momentary or slight appearance.
3.
a vague idea; inkling.
4.
Archaic. a gleam, as of light.
verb (used with object), glimpsed, glimpsing.
5.
to catch or take a glimpse of.
verb (used without object), glimpsed, glimpsing.
6.
to look briefly; glance (usually followed by at).
7.
Archaic. to come into view; appear faintly.
Origin of glimpse
1350-1400
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.
Synonyms
5. spot, spy, view, sight, espy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for glimpse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I catch a glimpse of the grandness of your sister's meaning.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • I'll burn my copy before I will let you have a glimpse of it.

  • Yet how imperfect a glimpse do we obtain of him, through the medium of this, or any of his letters!

    A Book of Autographs Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • I thought I had a glimpse of something behind that thick bush.

    The Gorgon's Head Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • At the first glimpse of the terrible head of Medusa, they whitened into marble!

    The Gorgon's Head Nathaniel Hawthorne
British Dictionary definitions for glimpse

glimpse

/ɡlɪmps/
noun
1.
a brief or incomplete view: to catch a glimpse of the sea
2.
a vague indication: he had a glimpse of what the lecturer meant
3.
(archaic) a glimmer of light
verb
4.
(transitive) to catch sight of briefly or momentarily
5.
(mainly US) (intransitive) usually foll by at. to look (at) briefly or cursorily; glance (at)
6.
(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
v.

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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