verb (used without object)

to reflect light with a brilliant, sparkling luster; sparkle with reflected light.
to make a brilliant show.


a sparkling reflected light or luster.
showy splendor.
small glittering ornaments.

Origin of glitter

1300–50; Middle English < Old Norse glitra; compare Old English glitenian, German gleissen to shine, glitter
Related formsglit·ter·ing·ly, adverbout·glit·ter, verb (used with object)un·glit·ter·ing, adjective

Synonyms for glitter

1. See flash. 3. sparkle. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for glitter

Contemporary Examples of glitter

Historical Examples of glitter

British Dictionary definitions for glitter


verb (intr)

(of a hard, wet, or polished surface) to reflect light in bright flashes
(of light) to be reflected in bright flashes
(usually foll by with) to be decorated or enhanced by the glamour (of)the show glitters with famous actors


sparkle or brilliance
show and glamour
tiny pieces of shiny decorative material used for ornamentation, as on the skin
Also called: silver thaw Canadian ice formed from freezing rain
Derived Formsglitteringly, adverbglittery, adjective

Word Origin for glitter

C14: from Old Norse glitra; related to Old High German glīzan to shine
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 glitter

c.1300, glideren (late 14c. as gliteren), from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse glitra "to glitter," from glit "brightness," from Proto-Germanic *glit- "shining, bright" (cf. Old English glitenian "to glitter, shine; be distinguished," Old High German glizzan, German glitzern, Gothic glitmunjan), from PIE *ghleid- (cf. Greek khlidon, khlidos "ornament"), from root *ghel- "to shine, glitter" (see glass). Related: Glittered; glittering. The noun is c.1600, from the verb. Glitter rock is from 1972.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with glitter


see all that glitters is not gold.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.