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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shimmer
Historical Examples
  • They saw those rocks, through the shimmer of the surface glare.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • Everything they do, everything they say, gets the colour and shimmer of the sea.

  • The trees outside were casting a shimmer of green through the sunshine in the room.


    Jane Abbott
  • There was a shimmer of light from the top and I took a closer look at it.

    The Repairman Harry Harrison
  • The blocks of ice flash and shimmer as they pass through the sunshine.


    Christopher Morley
  • Through her misted eyes she could barely see the shimmer of the cross.

    Riders of the Silences

    John Frederick
  • True to his instincts, he saw in that awful carnage only the shimmer of his gold.

    Hidden Treasures

    Harry A. Lewis
  • He could see the soft contour of her chin, a shimmer of warm, brown hair.

    Mountain Blood Joseph Hergesheimer
  • There was a shimmer as of every colour in the rainbow; and a buzz that could only come from a hive full.

    Daisy Elizabeth Wetherell
  • Its deep, dark vista was lit up only by the shimmer of a distant lake.

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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