verb (used without object)

to shine with or reflect a subdued, tremulous light; gleam faintly.
to appear to quiver or vibrate in faint light or while reflecting heat waves.


a subdued, tremulous light or gleam.
a quivering or vibrating motion or image as produced by reflecting faint light or heat waves.

Origin of shimmer

before 1100; Middle English schimeren, s(c)hemeren, Old English scimrian; cognate with Dutch schemeren, German schimmern to glisten
Related formsshim·mer·ing·ly, adverbun·shim·mer·ing, adjectiveun·shim·mer·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for shimmer

1. glimmer. See glisten. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shimmered

Contemporary Examples of shimmered

Historical Examples of shimmered

  • It shimmered and trembled like an iridescent bubble about to break.

  • Shadows, formed by the water on the pane, shimmered on Fernando's face.

    When the Owl Cries

    Paul Bartlett

  • In it was a strange, liquid which shone and shimmered in the half-darkness of the hut.

    The King's Assegai

    Bertram Mitford

  • Then the sharp lines of the throne blurred; it shimmered in the light.

  • He looked at the gauge that shimmered redly before him, disbelieving.

British Dictionary definitions for shimmered



(intr) to shine with a glistening or tremulous light


a faint, glistening, or tremulous light
Derived Formsshimmering, adjectiveshimmeringly, adverb

Word Origin for shimmer

Old English scimerian; related to Middle Low German schēmeren to grow dark, Old Norse skimi brightness
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 shimmered



Old English scimerian "to glitter, shimmer, glisten, shine," related to (perhaps a frequentative of) scimian "to shine," from Proto-Germanic *skim- (cf. Swedish skimra, Dutch schemeren "to glitter," German schimmern), from PIE root *skai- "to gleam, to shine" (see shine (v.). Related: Shimmered; shimmering.



"a tremulous light," 1821, from shimmer (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper