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Alternative forms[edit]


From earlier glimse, from Middle English glimsen (to glisten, be dazzling, glance with the eyes), akin to Middle High German glimsen (to glow, smoulder), Middle High German glinsen (to shine, glimmer), Middle Dutch glinsen and Middle Low German glinsen, glintzen, glinzen (to shine, shimmer), Dutch glinsteren (to glitter, sparkle, shimmer, glint, glance).


  • IPA(key): /ɡlɪmps/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪmps


glimpse (plural glimpses)

  1. A brief look, glance, or peek.
    I only got a glimpse of the car, so I can tell you the colour but not the registration number.
    • 1798, Samuel Rogers, An Epistle to a Friend
      Here hid by shrub-wood, there by glimpses seen.
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter I, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      Selwyn, sitting up rumpled and cross-legged on the floor, after having boloed Drina to everybody's exquisite satisfaction, looked around at the sudden rustle of skirts to catch a glimpse of a vanishing figure—a glimmer of ruddy hair and the white curve of a youthful face, half-buried in a muff.
  2. A sudden flash.
  3. A faint idea; an inkling.



glimpse (third-person singular simple present glimpses, present participle glimpsing, simple past and past participle glimpsed)

  1. (transitive) To see or view briefly or incompletely.
    I have only begun to glimpse the magnitude of the problem.
  2. (intransitive) To appear by glimpses.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Drayton to this entry?)