gleam

[gleem]

noun

a flash or beam of light: the gleam of a lantern in the dark.
a dim or subdued light.
a brief or slight manifestation or occurrence; trace: a gleam of hope.

verb (used without object)

to send forth a gleam or gleams.
to appear suddenly and clearly like a flash of light.

Origin of gleam

before 1000; (noun) Middle English glem(e), Old English glǣm; cognate with Old High German gleimo glowworm; akin to Old Saxon glīmo brightness; (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun See glimmer, glimpse
Related formsgleam·ing·ly, adverbgleam·less, adjectiveout·gleam, verb (used with object)un·gleam·ing, adjective

Synonyms for gleam

1. Gleam, glimmer, beam, ray are terms for a stream of light. Gleam denotes a not very brilliant, intermittent or nondirectional stream of light. Glimmer indicates a nondirectional light that is feeble and unsteady: a faint glimmer of moonlight. Beam usually means a directional, and therefore smaller, stream: the beam from a searchlight. Ray usually implies a still smaller amount of light than a beam, a single line of light: a ray through a pinprick in a window shade. 4. shine, glimmer, flash, glitter, sparkle, beam.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for gleam

Contemporary Examples of gleam

Historical Examples of gleam

  • Then she fluttered a glance at him in which there was a gleam of mockery.

    Viviette

    William J. Locke

  • She was smiling now, and he caught a gleam of mischief in her eyes.

    Viviette

    William J. Locke

  • No, her head was fallen, and he saw the gleam of her hand at her breast.

  • She opened her eyes with a gleam of eagerness to hear the words.

  • How black is the great tower, and how bright the gleam of arms upon the wall!

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle


British Dictionary definitions for gleam

gleam

noun

a small beam or glow of light, esp reflected light
a brief or dim indicationa gleam of hope

verb (intr)

to send forth or reflect a beam of light
to appear, esp brieflyintelligence gleamed in his eyes
Derived Formsgleaming, adjectivegleamy, adjectivegleamingly, adverb

Word Origin for gleam

Old English glǣm; related to Old Norse gljā to flicker, Old High German gleimo glow-worm, glīmo brightness, Old Irish glē 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 gleam
n.

Old English glæm "brilliant light; brightness, splendor, radiance," from Proto-Germanic *glaimiz (cf. Old Saxon glimo "brightness;" Middle High German glim "spark," gleime "glowworm;" German glimmen "to glimmer, glow;" Old Norse glija "to shine, glitter"), from root *glim-, from PIE *ghel- "to shine, glitter, glow" (see glass).

v.

early 13c., from gleam (n). Related: Gleamed; gleaming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper