[ gleem ]
/ glim /
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See synonyms for: gleam / gleamed / gleaming on Thesaurus.com

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.
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Origin of gleam

First recorded before 1000; (noun) Middle English glem(e), Old English glǣm; cognate with Old High German gleimo “glowworm”; akin to Old Saxon glīmo “brightness”; (verb) Middle English, derivative of the noun. See glimmer, glimpse

synonym study 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.


gleam·less, adjectiveout·gleam, verb (used with object)

Words nearby gleam

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does gleam mean?

A gleam is a flash or flicker of light, as in As Val scrolled through their phone in the dark, the screen projected a gleam of light on their face.

A gleam is also a dim light, such as you might get from a flashlight with a dying battery.

To gleam means to send out a gleam, as in The candle gleamed in the darkness.

To gleam also means to appear quickly and clearly, as a flash of light would.

Example: I love the way this dress gleams in the sun.

Where does gleam come from?

The first records of the term gleam come from before the year 1000. It ultimately comes from the Old English glǣm.

You might also see gleam used to mean “a brief or small inkling of something happening.” You might have a gleam of hope about something that’s not very likely but not impossible. You might also say you have a gleam of happiness when you’re sad overall.

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What are some other forms related to gleam?

  • gleamingly (adverb)
  • gleamless (adjective)
  • gleamy (adjective)
  • outgleam (verb)
  • gleaming (adjective, verb)

What are some synonyms for gleam?

What are some words that share a root or word element with gleam?

What are some words that often get used in discussing gleam?

How is gleam used in real life?

Gleam is a common word often used to describe a dull stream of light.

Try using gleam!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for gleam?

A. glimmer
B. darken
C. twinkle
D. glint

How to use gleam in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for gleam

/ (ɡliːm) /

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 forms of gleam

gleaming, 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