[ glimps ]
/ glɪmps /


verb (used with object), glimpsed, glimps·ing.

to catch or take a glimpse of.

verb (used without object), glimpsed, glimps·ing.

to look briefly; glance (usually followed by at).
Archaic. to come into view; appear faintly.

Nearby words

  1. glim,
  2. glimmer,
  3. glimmer ice,
  4. glimmering,
  5. glimmeringly,
  6. glin,
  7. glinka,
  8. glinka, mikhail ivanovich,
  9. glinn,
  10. glint

Origin of glimpse

1350–1400; Middle English glimsen (v.); cognate with Middle High German glimsen to glow; akin to glimmer

Related formsglimps·er, nounun·glimpsed, adjective

Can be confusedglance glimpse Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for glimpse

British Dictionary definitions for glimpse


/ (ɡlɪmps) /


a brief or incomplete viewto catch a glimpse of the sea
a vague indicationhe had a glimpse of what the lecturer meant
archaic a glimmer of light


(tr) to catch sight of briefly or momentarily
(intr usually foll by at) mainly US to look (at) briefly or cursorily; glance (at)
(intr) archaic to shine faintly; glimmer
Derived Formsglimpser, noun

Word Origin for glimpse

C14: of Germanic origin; compare Middle High German glimsen to glimmer


Glimpse is sometimes wrongly used where glance is meant: he gave a quick glance (not glimpse) at his watch

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 glimpse



c.1400, "to glisten, be dazzling," probably from Old English *glimsian "shine faintly," from Proto-Germanic *glim- (see gleam). If so, the intrusive -p- would be there to ease pronunciation. Sense of "catch a quick view" first recorded mid-15c. Related: Glimpsed. The noun is recorded from mid-16c.; earlier in verbal noun glimpsing (mid-14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper