Definition of glitter in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈɡlidər/


[no object]
1Shine with a bright, shimmering, reflected light: trees and grass glittered with dew
More example sentences
  • I feel disturbed at the thought, and in the end, account it to the array of bright lights glittering in the darkness.
  • The palace was constructed of a hard opaque crystal, as well as marble and stone, and it seemed to glitter in the light of the morning sun.
  • She smiled back at the male, her own eyes glittering in the morning sunlight.
1.1Shine as a result of strong feeling: her eyes were glittering with excitement
More example sentences
  • Sara's eyes glittered dangerously in the firelight and I knew I was in trouble now.
  • She suddenly stopped, her eyes still glittering brightly with an emotion he could unmask all too well.
  • She stood up to meet him, her eyes glittering with barely suppressed anger.


[in singular]
1Bright, shimmering, reflected light: the blue glitter of the sea
More example sentences
  • My first cat, Jimmy, loved to lie under the tree and gently bat one particular ornament back and forth between his paws to watch the glitter shimmer on its blue surface.
  • The sun's rays kiss the body of the mountains as the frosts on the grass melts and the dew drops on the flower sparkle like a diamond to the glitter of light.
  • A head was peering out at him from around the end of one of the rows, long shiny hair, a glitter of eyes reflecting the light on the table.
1.1A glint in a person’s eye indicating a particular emotion: the scathing glitter in his eyes
More example sentences
  • When she did, he saw the nameless glitter in her eyes.
  • Emily pouted, yet I could see the glitter in her eyes.
  • I could see the glitter in his eyes and the smirk that was about to come on any minute.
2Tiny pieces of sparkling material used for decoration: sneakers trimmed with sequins and glitter
More example sentences
  • It smells softly of rose and contains tiny pieces of fairy glitter designed to sparkle subtly - guaranteed to make you look like the cat's miaow.
  • Just tiny little sparkles of glitter on it that makes it so pretty.
  • Once upstairs, she found a wooden door marked with an A4 piece of cartridge paper, decorated with glitter and sequins and spelling out her first name in finger-painted letters.
3An attractive and exciting but superficial quality: he avoids the glitter of show business
More example sentences
  • Today's more tech-experienced teachers are also more able to see beyond a presentation's extra glitter to the quality of learning within.
  • I think the whole concept of highlighting the servicing character of a hospital stems from an over-preoccupation with superficial glitter.
  • The more complex question is why some sports performers have that factor X which adds glitter to quality and makes a mere player into a personality.
glamour, excitement, thrills, attraction, appeal;
informal razzle-dazzle, razzmatazz, glitz, ritziness


all that glitters is not gold

proverb The attractive external appearance of something is not a reliable indication of its true nature.
Example sentences
  • But all that glitters is not gold and even as the models flash the latest trends, scratch the surface and ‘the glamour, gloss and glaze’ is replaced by hard-core business and hard work.
  • Some of the actions of the party administration are beginning to show that all that glitters is not gold.
  • But in show business, all that glitters is not gold.


Late Middle English: from Old Norse glitra.

  • Things have glittered since the 14th century, and the word comes from Old Norse glitra. All that glitters is not gold dates back at least to the early 13th century: Shakespeare uses it, in the form all that glisters is not gold, in The Merchant of Venice. Glister is probably from the Middle Dutch variant of the word. Glitzy, ‘showily attractive’, first appeared in the USA in the 1960s. It was based on glitter, and probably influenced by ritzy and perhaps also by German glitzerig ‘glittering’. Ritzy comes from the luxurious Ritz hotels, and is first recorded used by P. G. Wodehouse in 1920.

Words that rhyme with glitter

bitter, committer, critter, embitter, emitter, fitter, flitter, fritter, gritter, hitter, jitter, knitter, litter, permitter, pitta, quitter, remitter, sitter, skitter, slitter, spitter, splitter, submitter, titter, transmitter, twitter, witter

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: glit·ter

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.