[ glis-uhn ]
/ ˈglɪs ən /

verb (used without object)

to reflect a sparkling light or a faint intermittent glow; shine lustrously.


a glistening; sparkle.

Origin of glisten

before 1000; Middle English glis(t)nen (v.), Old English glisnian, derivative of glisian to glitter; see -en1


1 glimmer, gleam, glitter. Glisten, shimmer, sparkle refer to different ways in which light is reflected from surfaces. Glisten refers to a lustrous light, as from something sleek or wet, or it may refer to myriads of tiny gleams reflected from small surfaces: Wet fur glistens. Snow glistens in the sunlight. Shimmer refers to the changing play of light on a (generally moving) surface, as of water or silk: Moonbeams shimmer on water. Silk shimmers in a high light. To sparkle is to give off sparks or small ignited particles, or to send forth small but brilliant gleams, sometimes by reflection: A diamond sparkles with numerous points of light.


glis·ten·ing·ly, adverbun·glis·ten·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for glisten

British Dictionary definitions for glisten

/ (ˈɡlɪsən) /

verb (intr)

(of a wet or glossy surface) to gleam by reflecting lightwet leaves glisten in the sunlight
(of light) to reflect with brightnessthe sunlight glistens on wet leaves


rare a gleam or gloss

Derived forms of glisten

glisteningly, adverb

Word Origin for glisten

Old English glisnian; related to glisian to glitter, Middle High German glistern
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