Definition of glimpse in English:



  • A momentary or partial view.

    ‘she caught a glimpse of the ocean’
    ‘a glimpse into the world of the wealthy’
    • ‘The only thing is during all of this, I caught a glimpse of his face and he looked so familiar.’
    • ‘You get only fleeting glimpses of the action and you are surrounded by people becoming progressively more drunk.’
    • ‘He didn't look at her but she caught a glimpse of his misty grey eyes, they seemed far away.’
    • ‘I kept shooting glimpses over my shoulder at all the people who passed me by.’
    • ‘Rolling her eyes, her father caught glimpse in the mirror.’
    • ‘He glanced around the trunk and caught a glimpse of a shape moving through the trees.’
    • ‘She looked around the beautifully adorned room and caught a glimpse of herself in a round oval mirror.’
    • ‘In the mirror, I caught my first glimpse of his face without the ironwork interrupting his features.’
    • ‘Trying to look past the dull conversation, I caught a glimpse of red from the corner of my eye.’
    • ‘I toss opportunities like coins, and call tails when I've already caught a glimpse of the queen's crown.’
    • ‘As he spun her around, I could get brief glimpses of her face.’
    • ‘A large gasp emerged from my throat as I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.’
    • ‘For once, there were no fans hanging around waiting to have a glimpse of their favourite star.’
    • ‘As he spun around in his child like dance, he caught a glimpse of something off the side of the boat.’
    • ‘When the reeds parted, he caught a glimpse of her, and yes, there she was, the river goddess.’
    • ‘I still recall one Sunday morning when I caught a glimpse of them outside.’
    • ‘And I was left with the feeling of having been granted a glimpse of heaven.’
    • ‘She peeked round the corner and caught a glimpse of a police car going slowly down the street.’
    • ‘He caught a glimpse of my wallet pic of Colin, only a glimpse though.’
    • ‘You're just showing tantalizing glimpses of your uberflat tummy!’
    brief look, quick look
    glance, peek, peep
    sight, sighting
    coup d'œil
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  • 1 See or perceive briefly or partially.

    ‘he glimpsed a figure standing in the shade’
    • ‘Through its hundreds of rooms, visitors can glimpse how life went on at court.’
    • ‘Everyone here has heard the stories - or maybe, been on a convoy through the green zone, briefly glimpsed the way that other half lives.’
    • ‘He happened to glimpse the clock and realized he had lost track of the time.’
    • ‘It's like glimpsing in on a day in the life of the '70s.’
    • ‘So here, imagination allows us to glimpse truths of a kind that seem to elude reason operating alone.’
    • ‘From the opposite ends of the political spectrum, we had each glimpsed a piece of the same truth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The young girl's mind was on the mysterious figure she had glimpsed the night before.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sleep leaves me and I groggily sit up, glimpsing at my watch.’
    • ‘Maybe that's what a poet's job is: to make you glimpse what you have never seen for yourself.’
    • ‘I've never been entirely comfortable here, and on a couple of occasions I've glimpsed figures on or near the stairs.’
    • ‘The headmaster glimpsed in memory the little suburban classroom.’
    • ‘Complex analysis of the international tale of the hero or heroine who glimpses a forbidden sight and suffers for it.’
    • ‘I have been in the Cabinet and have glimpsed very senior political office and it's not everything it's made out to be.’
    • ‘It shows a way of life rarely glimpsed on children's TV - a Scottish island community, authentic down to the accents.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Crucially, this was when I glimpsed for the first time a world of wealth and privilege, very different from mine.’
    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.
      ‘glowworms 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.