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  1. luster; brightness; radiance.
  2. gleaming attire.
  1. shining.
  2. beautiful.
verb (used without object)
  1. Scot. and North England. to shine.

Origin of sheen

before 900; (adj.) Middle English sheene beautiful, bright, shining, Old English scēne; cognate with German schön; (v.) Middle English s(c)henen, derivative of the adj.; (noun) derivative of the adj.
Related formssheen·ful, adjectivesheen·less, adjectivesheen·ly, adverb


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1. See polish.


  1. Fulton (John),1895–1979, U.S. Roman Catholic clergyman, writer, and teacher.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sheen

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Over the River rests the sheen of light; over the hills rests the sheen of romance.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • Through the sheen a softened outline of the town wavered fantastically.

  • My sheen's twice the weicht o' yours, and they dinna fit me!'

    Heather and Snow

    George MacDonald

  • Straucht up hill throuw the heather, and I'll put my sheen on!'

    Heather and Snow

    George MacDonald

  • The foliage is beautiful, showing a sheen like changeable silk.

British Dictionary definitions for sheen


  1. a gleaming or glistening brightness; lustre
  2. poetic splendid clothing
  1. rare shining and beautiful; radiant
Derived Formssheeny, adjective

Word Origin

Old English sciene; related to Old Norse skjōni white horse, Gothic skauns beautiful, Old High German scōni bright
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 sheen


"shining, brightness," 1602 (first attested in "Hamlet" iii.2), noun use of adjective sheene "beautiful, bright," from Old English scene, sciene "beautiful; bright, brilliant," from Proto-Germanic *skauniz "conspicuous" (cf. Old Frisian skene, Middle Dutch scone, Dutch schoon, Old High German skoni, German schön "fair, beautiful;" Gothic skaunja "beautiful"), from PIE root *skeue- "to pay attention, perceive" (see caveat). Meaning "film of oil on water" is from 1970.

As an adjective now only in poetic or archaic use, but in Middle English used after a woman's name, or as a noun, "fair one, beautiful woman."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper