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simon1234

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Hi there,
How do you use the following words? They seem to mean 'bright light'? Could you give some examples to explain?

glare, glaze, gleam, glimmer, glitter

Thanks a lot
simon
 

simon1234

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Hi there,
There are two more:
glisten, glow

tks
simon
 

Heterological

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Jun 25, 2010
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"Glare" has a negative connotation. It's usually used when light is reflecting off a surface and hurting your eyes. "I hit the pedestrian with my car because I was blinded by the glare from the storefront window." It can also mean an angry look that someone gives you.

"Glaze" means a shiny surface layer added to something. Before you bake clay sculptures in a kiln, you usually apply a glaze to make them look smooth and polished. A glaze can also mean a fatty substance applied to food while it bakes; you usually put a "glaze" on a ham before putting it in the oven. We also sometimes use the term to describe the way a person's eyes look when he or she is bored and not paying attention. "I tried to explain quantum mechanics to him, but his eyes just glazed over."

"Gleam" usually means a small light. The context in which I've heard it used most frequently is metaphorical; people talk about "a gleam in someone's eye" meaning an expression like a smile. "Glimmer" is similar; it makes me think of a light that flickers and doesn't last very long, like a candle flame. We often talk about "a glimmer of hope," or similar, meaning a small, unreliable amount.

"Glitter" refers to small particles of metal used for decoration. I used to have a glitter artwork kit when I was a kid; it was just colored paper, glue, and a dozen different colors of glitter. Since the pieces are about the size of a grain of sand (only flat) they refract light in all different directions. When something else does that (like a diamond, for example) we say it "glitters," using "glitter" as a verb. (All the above words can be verbs or nouns, as well.)
 

Heterological

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"Glisten" is a little like "glitter," only not as bright--and "glisten" is only a verb. It's used almost exclusively with little drops of water; "tears glistened on her cheek," "a single dewdrop glistened on the petals of the rose," etc. Also, there was a time when it was considered impolite to talk about the bodily function of sweat; there is a saying that comes from this time: "horses sweat; men perspire; women glisten." It means that, of course, all creatures sweat, but we have euphemisms for when people, especially ladies, do it.

"Glow" is very different, as the light is soft and diffuse, like if you covered a lightbulb in cloth. We sometimes talk about the "healthy glow" people get in their skin when they are happy, or when they have been exercising and the blood is close to the surface of their skin, or when they have been in the sun and are tan and a little pink. We also say that phosphorescent things "glow in the dark."
 
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