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15th century. Borrowed from Scots glint; from Middle English glenten (to shine, gleam; flash); probably alteration of Old Norse [Term?]; from Middle High German glinzen; from Proto-Germanic *glintaną, *glintjaną; from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰley- (to shine). Cognate with Swedish glänta, glinta (to slip, slide, gleam, shine), Swedish glimt. Reintroduced into literary English by Robert Burns.[1]



glint (plural glints)

  1. A short flash of light.
    I saw the glint of metal as he raised the gun.



glint (comparative more glint, superlative most glint)

  1. (archaic, Shropshire, of a blade) Not sharp; dull.
    The knife is glint.


glint (third-person singular simple present glints, present participle glinting, simple past and past participle glinted)

  1. (intransitive) To flash or gleam briefly.
    A wedding ring glinted on her finger.
  2. (intransitive) To glance; to peep forth, as a flower from the bud; to glitter.
    • 1785, Robert Burns, The Holy Fair
      The rising sun owre Galston muirs, / Wi' glorious light was glintin'
  3. (transitive) To cause to flash or gleam; to reflect.
    • 1980, Inquiry Magazine
      The scientists theorized that a meteoroid, ranging in size from a speck of dust to a marble, might have struck the satellite and chipped off a bit of debris that glinted a ray of sun back on the Vela's second sensor []
  4. (archaic, Shropshire, transitive) To dry; to wither.
    The sun glints grass and corn.



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “glint”, in Online Etymology Dictionary, retrieved 20 January 2017: “from Scottish, where apparently it survived as an alteration of glent [...] Reintroduced into literary English by Burns.”.