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glimpse

[glimps]
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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.
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verb (used with object), glimpsed, glimps·ing.
  1. to catch or take a glimpse of.
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verb (used without object), glimpsed, glimps·ing.
  1. to look briefly; glance (usually followed by at).
  2. Archaic. to come into view; appear faintly.
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Origin of glimpse

1350–1400; Middle English glimsen (v.); cognate with Middle High German glimsen to glow; akin to glimmer
Related formsglimps·er, nounun·glimpsed, adjective
Can be confusedglance glimpse

Synonyms

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5. spot, spy, view, sight, espy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for glimpse

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I catch a glimpse of the grandness of your sister's meaning.

  • 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

noun
  1. a brief or incomplete viewto catch a glimpse of the sea
  2. a vague indicationhe had a glimpse of what the lecturer meant
  3. archaic a glimmer of light
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verb
  1. (tr) to catch sight of briefly or momentarily
  2. (intr usually foll by at) mainly US to look (at) briefly or cursorily; glance (at)
  3. (intr) archaic to shine faintly; glimmer
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Derived Formsglimpser, noun

Word Origin

C14: of Germanic origin; compare Middle High German glimsen to glimmer

usage

Glimpse is sometimes wrongly used where glance is meant: he gave a quick glance (not glimpse) at his watch
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

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.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper