shine to produce or reflect light, especially brightly: The sun was shining and the sky was blue. gleam to shine with a clear bright or pale light, especially a reflected light: Moonlight gleamed on the water. glow (often of something hot or warm) to produce a dull steady light: The end of his cigarette glowed red. sparkle to shine brightly with small flashes of light: The diamonds sparkled in the light. glisten (of something wet) to shine: The road glistened wet after the rain. shimmer to shine with a soft light that seems to shake slightly: Everything seemed to shimmer in the heat. glitter to shine brightly with small flashes of reflected light: The ceiling of the cathedral glittered with gold.
SPARKLE OR GLITTER? There is very little difference in meaning between these two words. Glitter can sometimes suggest a lack of depth, but this is more frequent in the figurative use of glitter as a noun: the superficial glitter of show business. Sparkle is also often used to talk about light reflected off a surface, but things that produce light can also sparkle: Stars sparkled in the sky.
twinkle to shine with a light that changes rapidly from bright to faint to bright again: Stars twinkled in the sky. glint to give small bright flashes of reflected light: The blade of the knife glinted in the darkness.
PATTERNS AND COLLOCATIONS • to shine/gleam/glow/sparkle/glisten/shimmer/glitter/ twinkle/glint on/upon something • to shine/gleam/glow/sparkle/glisten/shimmer/glitter/ twinkle/glint with something • to shine/gleam/sparkle/glisten/shimmer/glitter/glint in the sunlight • to shine/gleam/glow/sparkle/glisten/shimmer/glitter/ glint in the moonlight • the moon shines/gleams/shimmers • the stars shine/gleam/sparkle/glitter/twinkle • somebody’s eyes shine/gleam/glow/sparkle/glisten/glitter/ twinkle/glint • to shine/gleam/glow/sparkle/glisten/shimmer/glitter/ twinkle/glint brightly • to shine/gleam/glow/shimmer softly