[ gleem ]
See synonyms for: gleamgleamedgleaming on

  1. a flash or beam of light: the gleam of a lantern in the dark.

  2. a dim or subdued light.

  1. 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

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.

Other words for gleam

Other words from gleam

  • gleam·less, adjective
  • out·gleam, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use gleam in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for gleam


/ (ɡliːm) /

  1. a small beam or glow of light, esp reflected light

  2. a brief or dim indication: a gleam of hope

  1. to send forth or reflect a beam of light

  2. to appear, esp briefly: intelligence gleamed in his eyes

Origin of gleam

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

Derived forms of gleam

  • gleaming, adjective
  • gleamy, adjective
  • gleamingly, adverb

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