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See more synonyms for glisten on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to reflect a sparkling light or a faint intermittent glow; shine lustrously.
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  1. a glistening; sparkle.
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Origin of glisten

before 1000; Middle English glis(t)nen (v.), Old English glisnian, derivative of glisian to glitter; see -en1
Related formsglis·ten·ing·ly, adverbun·glis·ten·ing, adjective


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for glistening

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • His body was glistening, his cheeks were flushed, his eyes were burning with joy.

  • His cheeks were hollow and hectic, his eyes were glistening as with fever, his chest heaved.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • Before us were two colossal statues of glistening white crystal.

  • His voice was choked and his pale face was glistening with perspiration.

  • Meantime her bare arm, which she had not wiped, was glistening and dripping with water.

British Dictionary definitions for glistening


verb (intr)
  1. (of a wet or glossy surface) to gleam by reflecting lightwet leaves glisten in the sunlight
  2. (of light) to reflect with brightnessthe sunlight glistens on wet leaves
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  1. rare a gleam or gloss
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Derived Formsglisteningly, adverb

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for glistening



Old English glisnian "to glisten, gleam," from Proto-Germanic *glis- (cf. Old Frisian glisa "to shine," Middle High German glistern "to sparkle," Old Danish glisse "to shine"), from PIE *ghleis-, from root *ghel- "to shine, glitter, glow, be warm" (see glass). Related: Glistened; glistening.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper