A gleam is a bright flash of light. If you were lost on a dark, stormy night, you'd be hugely relieved to see the gleam of a roadside diner's sign up ahead.

Use the verb gleam when something is shining as if it were wet or glinting with light. Your new toothpaste might make your teeth so white that they gleam. You can also describe an emotion that appears briefly as a gleam, like a gleam of hope. And as you hatch a plan to toilet-paper the neighbor's yard, mischief might gleam in your eyes.

Definitions of gleam

n a flash of light (especially reflected light)

gleaming, glimmer
Type of:
a sudden intense burst of radiant energy

n an appearance of reflected light

gleaming, glow, lambency
Type of:
effulgence, radiance, radiancy, refulgence, refulgency, shine
the quality of being bright and sending out rays of light

v shine brightly, like a star or a light

Type of:
cause to be seen by emitting light as if in rays

v be shiny, as if wet

glint, glisten, glitter, shine
glitter as if covered with spangles
give off a shimmering reflection, as of silk
Type of:
appear, look, seem
give a certain impression or have a certain outward aspect

v appear briefly

“A terrible thought gleamed in her mind”
Type of:
appear, come along
come into being or existence, or appear on the scene

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