Definition of glimpse noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ɡlɪmps//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɡlɪmps//
    [usually singular]
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  1. 1glimpse (of somebody/something) | glimpse (at somebody/something) a look at somebody/something for a very short time, when you do not see the person or thing completely He caught a glimpse of her in the crowd. I came up on deck to get my first glimpse of the island. Fans crowded the street outside waiting for a glimpse of their hero. Synonymslookglance gaze stare glimpse glareThese are all words for an act of looking, when you turn your eyes in a particular direction.look an act of looking at somebody/​something:Here, have a look at this.glance a quick look:She stole a glance at her watch.gaze a long steady look at somebody/​something:She felt embarrassed under his steady gaze.stare a long look at somebody/​something, especially in a way that is unfriendly or that shows surprise:She gave the officer a blank stare and shrugged her shoulders.glimpse a look at somebody/​something for a very short time, when you do not see the person or thing completely:He caught a glimpse of her in the crowd.glare a long angry look at somebody/​something:She fixed her questioner with a hostile glare.Patterns a look/​glance at somebody/​something a penetrating/​piercing look/​glance/​gaze/​stare a long look/​glance/​stare a brief look/​glance/​glimpse to have/​get/​take a look/​glance/​glimpse to avoid somebody’s glance/​gaze/​stare Synonymsseespot catch glimpseThese words all mean to become aware of somebody/​something by using your eyes, especially suddenly or when it is not easy to see them/​it.see to become aware of somebody/​something by using your eyes:She looked for him but couldn’t see him in the crowd. He could see (that) she had been crying.spot to see or notice somebody/​something, especially suddenly or when they are not easy to see or notice:I’ve just spotted a mistake on the front cover.catch to see or notice something for a moment, but not clearly or completely:She caught sight of a car in the distance. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror.glimpse (literary) to see somebody/​something for a moment, but not clearly or completely:He’d glimpsed her through the window as he passed.Patterns to see/​spot that/​how/​what/​where/​who… to suddenly see/​spot/​catch/​glimpse somebody/​something
  2. 2a short experience of something that helps you to understand it glimpse (into something) a fascinating glimpse into life in the ocean glimpse (of something) The programme gives us a rare glimpse of a great artist at work.
  3. Word OriginMiddle English (in the sense ‘shine faintly’): probably of Germanic origin; related to Middle High German glimsen, also to glimmer.Extra examples Later we caught our first glimpse of the sea. She got a glimpse of a very different way of life. Take a glimpse into the future of rail travel. That smile afforded her a brief glimpse of the other side of Adam Burns. The exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse at life beneath the waves. They caught occasional glimpses of great birds circling. This scene may give a rare glimpse of Charles’s personal style as king. This was my first tantalizing glimpse of the islands. Thousands of people had gathered, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Queen. We got just a brief glimpse of the car as it rushed by. We only had a fleeting glimpse of the sun all day.
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