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 shimmering

Contemporary Examples of shimmering

Historical Examples of shimmering

  • She was wearing a simple grey dress of some shimmering material.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

  • Now, once more, every eye was fixed on the shimmering skyline.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • You look down at yourself, at the shimmering garment that you found waiting for you.

    Hall of Mirrors

    Fredric Brown

  • The web of shimmering wires descended, cupping him completely.

  • He looked a quivering, shimmering, changeful creature, the color of golden-rod.

British Dictionary definitions for shimmering



(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 shimmering



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