Definition of glimpse in English:



  • 1A momentary or partial view.

    ‘she caught a glimpse of the ocean’
    • ‘He glanced around the trunk and caught a glimpse of a shape moving through the trees.’
    • ‘You get only fleeting glimpses of the action and you are surrounded by people becoming progressively more drunk.’
    • ‘When the reeds parted, he caught a glimpse of her, and yes, there she was, the river goddess.’
    • ‘As he spun her around, I could get brief glimpses of her face.’
    • ‘Rolling her eyes, her father caught glimpse in the mirror.’
    • ‘He didn't look at her but she caught a glimpse of his misty grey eyes, they seemed far away.’
    • ‘And I was left with the feeling of having been granted a glimpse of heaven.’
    • ‘I kept shooting glimpses over my shoulder at all the people who passed me by.’
    • ‘She looked around the beautifully adorned room and caught a glimpse of herself in a round oval mirror.’
    • ‘As he spun around in his child like dance, he caught a glimpse of something off the side of the boat.’
    • ‘For once, there were no fans hanging around waiting to have a glimpse of their favourite star.’
    • ‘He caught a glimpse of my wallet pic of Colin, only a glimpse though.’
    • ‘A large gasp emerged from my throat as I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.’
    • ‘Trying to look past the dull conversation, I caught a glimpse of red from the corner of my eye.’
    • ‘You're just showing tantalizing glimpses of your uberflat tummy!’
    • ‘The only thing is during all of this, I caught a glimpse of his face and he looked so familiar.’
    • ‘She peeked round the corner and caught a glimpse of a police car going slowly down the street.’
    • ‘In the mirror, I caught my first glimpse of his face without the ironwork interrupting his features.’
    • ‘I toss opportunities like coins, and call tails when I've already caught a glimpse of the queen's crown.’
    • ‘I still recall one Sunday morning when I caught a glimpse of them outside.’
    brief look, quick look
    glance, peek, peep
    sight, sighting
    coup d'œil
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    1. 1.1A brief insight or indication.
      ‘during the interview he offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse of television’
      • ‘The years roll back, as we catch brief glimpses of former lives.’
      • ‘The insight came only in glimpses, like a light on a dimmer switch that suddenly brightens to the point of utter clarity then fades again to a soft glow.’
      • ‘The three programs could offer a glimpse into the future of children's mental health care, they say.’
      • ‘His lyrics read like tabloid confessionals, offering glimpses into a celebrity's life.’
      • ‘The possibility tossed him in its hands, showing him glimpses of his potential.’
      • ‘There will be brief glimpses into what the future holds as well.’
      • ‘In the process they give us a glimpse of the powerful educational potential of the medium.’
      • ‘We're given a tantalising glimpse of Molnar's view on causality.’
      • ‘Today their work has given an intriguing glimpse into the life of a lost community from the Middle Ages.’
      • ‘And a glimpse into the past and present of the sport of polo.’
      • ‘Sometimes youth football offers a glimpse of the present, not the future.’
      • ‘Shot mostly among red brick suburbs, the film also offers brief glimpses of the modern concrete city centre.’
      • ‘The stories are heartbreaking, but the privilege of the briefest of glimpses of the lost lives is also revealing and inspiring.’
      • ‘Students of history will find behind-the-scenes glimpses into fascinating and insightful personalities.’
      • ‘The architects' remarks gave listeners a special behind-the-scenes glimpse of some of their creations.’
      • ‘From the river cruise the docklands look like docklands everywhere; tourists finally at rest, not quite bored, get brief glimpses into other lives, other spaces.’
      • ‘The brief spaces in the entrancing melody offer glimpses of a lurking pressure.’
      • ‘A tour of the commercial galleries offers glimpses of the art market at work.’
      • ‘For outsiders, it's a rare glimpse behind the paper curtain.’
      • ‘It is a sensational, jaw-dropping piece of theatre which gives a brief glimpse of what it's like to be in a war.’


  • 1 See or perceive briefly or partially.

    ‘he glimpsed a figure standing in the shade’
    • ‘It's like glimpsing in on a day in the life of the '70s.’
    • ‘It shows a way of life rarely glimpsed on children's TV - a Scottish island community, authentic down to the accents.’
    • ‘Sleep leaves me and I groggily sit up, glimpsing at my watch.’
    • ‘I've never been entirely comfortable here, and on a couple of occasions I've glimpsed figures on or near the stairs.’
    • ‘He briefly glimpses a woman running down the wooded path, but she is far away and disappears around a corner before he can look more closely.’
    • ‘Through its hundreds of rooms, visitors can glimpse how life went on at court.’
    • ‘The headmaster glimpsed in memory the little suburban classroom.’
    • ‘I have been in the Cabinet and have glimpsed very senior political office and it's not everything it's made out to be.’
    • ‘Everyone here has heard the stories - or maybe, been on a convoy through the green zone, briefly glimpsed the way that other half lives.’
    • ‘The young girl's mind was on the mysterious figure she had glimpsed the night before.’
    • ‘He happened to glimpse the clock and realized he had lost track of the time.’
    • ‘We briefly glimpse him alive and well before he is blown from his horse by a shell that destroys a significant part of his face.’
    • ‘Complex analysis of the international tale of the hero or heroine who glimpses a forbidden sight and suffers for it.’
    • ‘Crucially, this was when I glimpsed for the first time a world of wealth and privilege, very different from mine.’
    • ‘So here, imagination allows us to glimpse truths of a kind that seem to elude reason operating alone.’
    • ‘Maybe that's what a poet's job is: to make you glimpse what you have never seen for yourself.’
    • ‘From the opposite ends of the political spectrum, we had each glimpsed a piece of the same truth.’
    • ‘Part of the continuing allure of police action films is the chance to get under the skin of a criminal, to glimpse into an alien world.’
    • ‘However, the company did not forget the possibilities it had glimpsed.’
    • ‘To tell the truth, I couldn't glimpse a trace of any such crisis in the mesmerizing flow of this work.’
    catch sight of, catch a glimpse of, get a glimpse of, see briefly, get a sight of, notice, discern, spot, spy, sight, note, pick out, make out
    espy, descry
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    1. 1.1archaic [no object]Shine or appear faintly or intermittently.
      ‘glow-worms glimpsing in the dark’
      • ‘Rare rays of sunlight glimpsed through the clouds, shining onto the square.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘shine faintly’): probably of Germanic origin; related to Middle High German glimsen, also to glimmer.