See more synonyms for gleam on
  1. a flash or beam of light: the gleam of a lantern in the dark.
  2. a dim or subdued light.
  3. a brief or slight manifestation or occurrence; trace: a gleam of hope.
verb (used without object)
  1. to send forth a gleam or gleams.
  2. 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

See more synonyms for on
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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gleamed

Contemporary Examples of gleamed

Historical Examples of gleamed

  • His hair was glued to his temples by the rain, which gleamed on his face.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • The black eyes of Monsieur de Boisdhyver gleamed unpleasantly.

  • One of the faint lights that gleamed in the village was extinguished.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • As she stood in the one, gazing at the other, truer relationship had gleamed.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • She raised her face, which gleamed in the twilight like a puff-ball.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

British Dictionary definitions for gleamed


  1. a small beam or glow of light, esp reflected light
  2. a brief or dim indicationa gleam of hope
verb (intr)
  1. to send forth or reflect a beam of light
  2. 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 gleamed



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



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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper