[ glis-uhn ]
See synonyms for: glistenglistenedglisteningglisteningly on

verb (used without object)
  1. to reflect a sparkling light or a faint intermittent glow; shine lustrously.

  1. a glistening; sparkle.

Origin of glisten

First recorded before 1000; Middle English glis(t)nen (verb), Old English glisnian, derivative of glisian “to glitter; ” see -en1

synonym study For glisten

1. 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.

Other words for glisten

Other words from glisten

  • glis·ten·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·glis·ten·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use glisten in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for glisten


/ (ˈɡlɪsən) /

  1. (of a wet or glossy surface) to gleam by reflecting light: wet leaves glisten in the sunlight

  2. (of light) to reflect with brightness: the sunlight glistens on wet leaves

  1. rare a gleam or gloss

Origin of glisten

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

Derived forms of glisten

  • glisteningly, 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