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gleam / glēm/ • v. [intr.] shine brightly, esp. with reflected light: light gleamed on the china cats | her eyes gleamed with satisfaction. ∎  (of a smooth surface or object) reflect light because well polished: Victor buffed the glass until it gleamed | [as adj.] (gleaming) sleek and gleaming black limousines. ∎  (of an emotion or quality) appear or be expressed through the brightness of someone's eyes or expression: a hint of mischief gleaming in her eyes.• n. [usu. in sing.] a faint or brief light, esp. one reflected from something: the gleam of a silver tray. ∎  a brief or faint instance of a quality or emotion, esp. a desirable one: the gleam of hope vanished. ∎  a brightness in a person's eyes taken as a sign of a particular emotion: she saw an unmistakable gleam of triumph in his eyes.PHRASES: a gleam in someone's eyesee eye.DERIVATIVES: gleam·ing·ly adv.gleam·y adj. ( archaic ).