- a flash or beam of light: the gleam of a lantern in the dark.
- a dim or subdued light.
- a brief or slight manifestation or occurrence; trace: a gleam of hope.
verb (used without object)
- to send forth a gleam or gleams.
- to appear suddenly and clearly like a flash of light.
- a small beam or glow of light, esp reflected light
- a brief or dim indicationa gleam of hope
- to send forth or reflect a beam of light
- to appear, esp brieflyintelligence gleamed in his eyes
early 13c., from gleam (n). Related: Gleamed; gleaming.
Old English glæm “brilliant light; brightness, splendor, radiance,” from Proto-Germanic *glaimiz (cf. Old Saxon glimo “brightness;” Middle High German glim “spark,” gleime “glowworm;” German glimmen “to glimmer, glow;” Old Norse glija “to shine, glitter”), from root *glim-, from PIE *ghel- “to shine, glitter, glow” (see glass).