a faint or unsteady light; glimmer.
a faint glimpse or idea; inkling.


shining faintly or unsteadily; shimmering.

Origin of glimmering

Middle English word dating back to 1300–50; see origin at glimmer, -ing1, -ing2
Related formsglim·mer·ing·ly, adverb




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 glimmering

Contemporary Examples of glimmering

Historical Examples of glimmering

  • A glimmering of the truth came to Dunk, and his eyes narrowed.

  • And the lamps shone round them, and above them was the glimmering moon.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • Zora knows this glimmering light is not love, but renunciation.


    James Huneker

  • The glimmering of an explanation of this did not come until a long time afterward.


    Victor Endersby

  • Side by side they had sat, watching that glimmering scene about them.

British Dictionary definitions for glimmering


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 glimmering



1580s, from glimmer (v.).



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper