Definition of gleam in English:


Syllabification: gleam
Pronunciation: /glēm


[no object]
  • 1Shine brightly, especially with reflected light: light gleamed on the china cats her eyes gleamed with satisfaction
    More example sentences
    • The stars gleaming and moon shining lit my way to the secluded hill as the noise of everyone behind me faded.
    • A light flickered, then a red flare seemed to gleam brightly.
    • As he looked at me, he flashed a seemingly perfect smile, his straight white teeth gleamed in the light.
  • 1.1(Of a smooth surface or object) reflect light because well polished: Victor buffed the glass until it gleamed (as adjective gleaming) sleek and gleaming black limousines
    More example sentences
    • Silver metallic surfaces gleamed at him from every angle, a tangled heap of wires residing around five power ports in a row.
    • The rich, dark, walnut surface gleamed like glass, the china and silver twinkling in the light cast from two huge candelabra.
    • Smooth polished oak flooring gleamed in the afternoon light flooding in from the open windows.
  • 1.2(Of an emotion or quality) appear or be expressed through the brightness of someone’s eyes or expression: a hint of mischief gleaming in her eyes
    More example sentences
    • It unnerved him when she looked at him with fear gleaming in her eyes.
    • Krystal looked at him once, with disappointment gleaming wetly in her eyes.
    • All I ever wanted in life was to make them proud, to see them smiling at me, pride gleaming in their eyes.


[usually in singular] Back to top  
  • 1A faint or brief light, especially one reflected from something: the gleam of a silver tray
    More example sentences
    • See how his precise hands are reflected in the gleam and curve of the espresso machine, bringing it to life?
    • Reality enters his brain only in ‘feeble gleams of light.’
    • Hard to miss, especially by night divers, whose lights catch the gleam from its huge opalescent eyes, is the ratfish, which cruises by on wing-like pectoral fins.
  • 1.1A brief or faint instance of a quality or emotion, especially a desirable one: the gleam of hope vanished
    More example sentences
    • That faint gleam of hope faded and she awaited the bullet and the echoing rattle.
    • There is a gleam of intelligence, a gleam of humor, and there's always amusement, but his delivery is so poor, people only laugh because of his power.
    • It polishes another familiar genre, the coming-of-age movie, to a fine gleam of wit.
  • 1.2A brightness in a person’s eyes taken as a sign of a particular emotion: she saw an unmistakable gleam of triumph in his eyes
    More example sentences
    • A gleam of excitement phased through her expressionless eyes.
    • His face was expressionless, but the gleam in his eyes told her he was angry.
    • He looked back with a sneer and a matching gleam in his eye.


a gleam in someone's eye

see eye.



More example sentences
  • There are immaculately turned out sheep, goats with coats that might have been tailored in Savile Row, ponies groomed gleamingly to perfection.
  • They were - all at once - caring, compassionate, interested in single mothers and the homeless and gleamingly modern.
  • As smooth as silk they glided over their set, gleamingly polished, if slightly bland, and as always, chilled to a shiver.


( • archaic )
More example sentences
  • We walk from one to the next on goat trails beneath a gleamy Aegean sky.
  • And when the rain finished my car looked as clean and gleamy as anyone else's.
  • Aurelia noted the walls, coated with a gleamy stuff like the bricks at her school.


Old English glǣm 'brilliant light', of Germanic origin.

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