If you had a brief or incomplete look at something, you had a glimpse. "He didn't mean to peek, but he got a glimpse of his birthday present when his wife tried to sneak it into the house. Of course, it's pretty hard to hide a ladder."

You can use glimpse as a noun (like when you "catch a glimpse of someone") or as a verb (like when you "glimpse in someone's direction"). Although the word glimpse is usually used to describe the physical act of sneaking a peek at something, you can also use the noun glimpse to indicate a vague idea or suggestion. Perhaps, you can have a glimpse into your future by observing your parents' actions or by consulting a Tarot card reader.

Definitions of glimpse

n a brief or incomplete view

“from the window he could catch a glimpse of the lake”
Type of:
aspect, panorama, prospect, scene, view, vista
the visual percept of a region

n a quick look

coup d'oeil, gander, glance
a radiant glance of the eye
side-glance, side-look
a glance sideways
Type of:
look, looking, looking at
the act of directing the eyes toward something and perceiving it visually

n a vague indication

“he caught only a glimpse of the professor's meaning”
Type of:
indicant, indication
something that serves to indicate or suggest

v catch a glimpse of or see briefly

“We glimpsed the Queen as she got into her limousine”
Type of:
perceive by sight or have the power to perceive by sight

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