a faint or unsteady light; gleam.
a dim perception; inkling.

verb (used without object)

to shine faintly or unsteadily; twinkle, shimmer, or flicker.
to appear faintly or dimly.

Origin of glimmer

1300–50; Middle English glimeren to gleam; cognate with German glimmern; compare Old English gleomu splendor

Synonyms for glimmer

1. See gleam. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for glimmer

Contemporary Examples of glimmer

Historical Examples of glimmer

  • He looked from the window, and saw in the east the first glimmer of a lovely spring-day.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • But there he stopped, for he began to have a glimmer of where she was leading him.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • There was no light in the kitchen, and only a glimmer in the chamber above.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • As he had anticipated, the hunt had begun at the first glimmer of light.

  • Then he looked up at her with a glimmer of anxiety in his eyes.

    Alice Adams

    Booth Tarkington

British Dictionary definitions for glimmer


verb (intr)

(of a light, candle, etc) to glow faintly or flickeringly
to be indicated faintlyhope glimmered in his face


a glow or twinkle of light
a faint indication
Derived Formsglimmeringly, adverb

Word Origin for glimmer

C14: compare Middle High German glimmern, Swedish glimra, Danish glimre
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 glimmer

early 14c., "shine brightly," a frequentative from Proto-Germanic *glim-, root of Old English glæm "brightness" (see gleam (n.)). Sense shifted 15c. to "shine faintly." Cf. Dutch glimmeren, German glimmeren "to shine dimly." Related: Glimmered; glimmering.


1580s, from glimmer (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper