from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To emit light.
  • intransitive verb To reflect light; glint or glisten.
  • intransitive verb To distinguish oneself in an activity or a field; excel.
  • intransitive verb To be immediately apparent.
  • intransitive verb To aim or cast the beam or glow of (a light).
  • intransitive verb To make glossy or bright by polishing.
  • noun Brightness from a source of light; radiance.
  • noun Brightness from reflected light; luster.
  • noun A shoeshine.
  • noun Excellence in quality or appearance; splendor.
  • noun Fair weather.
  • noun Informal Pranks or tricks.
  • noun Slang Whiskey; moonshine.
  • noun Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a black person.
  • idiom (shine up to) To try to impress or please.
  • idiom (take a shine to) To like spontaneously.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Light; illumination.
  • noun Sunshine; hence, fair weather.
  • noun Sheen; brilliancy; luster; gloss.
  • noun Brightness; splendor; irradiation.
  • noun A fancy; liking: as, to take a shine to a person.
  • noun A disturbance; a row; a rumpus; a shindy.
  • noun A trick; a prank: as, to cut up shines.
  • To send forth or give out light or brightness, literally or figuratively: as, the sun shines by day, the moon by night.
  • To present a bright appearance; glow; gleam; glitter.
  • To beam forth; show itself clearly or conspicuously; be noticeably prominent or brilliant.
  • To excel; be eminent, distinguished, or conspicuous: as, to shine in society, or in conversation; to shine in letters.
  • To present a splendid or dazzling appearance; make a brave show.
  • Synonyms To radiate, glow. Shine differs from the words compared under glare, v., in that it generally stands for a steady radiation or emission of light. It is with different thoughts of the light of the fixed stars that we say that they shine, sparkle, gleam, or glitter.
  • To cause to shine.
  • Bright or shining; glittering.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The quality or state of shining; brightness; luster, gloss; polish; sheen.
  • noun Sunshine; fair weather.
  • noun Slang, U.S. A liking for a person; a fancy.
  • noun Slang Caper; antic; row.
  • noun [Slang, U.S.] to play pranks.
  • transitive verb obsolete To cause to shine, as a light.
  • transitive verb United States To make bright; to cause to shine by reflected light.
  • intransitive verb To emit rays of light; to give light; to beam with steady radiance; to exhibit brightness or splendor
  • intransitive verb To be bright by reflection of light; to gleam; to be glossy.
  • intransitive verb To be effulgent in splendor or beauty.
  • intransitive verb To be eminent, conspicuous, or distinguished; to exhibit brilliant intellectual powers.
  • intransitive verb to be propitious to; to be gracious to.
  • adjective obsolete Shining; sheen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To emit light.
  • verb intransitive To reflect light.
  • verb intransitive To distinguish oneself; to excel.
  • verb intransitive To be immediately apparent.
  • verb transitive To create light with (a flashlight, lamp, torch, or similar).


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English shinen, from Old English scīnan.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English schinen (preterite schon, past participle schinen), from Old English scīnan ("to shine, flash; be resplendent"; preterite scān, past participle scinen), from Proto-Germanic *skīnanan (“to shine”). Cognate with Dutch schijnen, German scheinen, Swedish skina.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the noun shine, or perhaps continuing Middle English schinen (preterite schinede, past participle schined), from Old English scīn ("brightness, shine"), and also Middle English schenen, from Old English scǣnan ("to render brilliant, make shine"), from Proto-Germanic *skainijanan, causitive of Proto-Germanic *skīnanan (“to shine”).


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word shine.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • ♪we♪can♪re♪mem♪ber♪

    March 8, 2007

  • God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us.

    Psalm 67:1

    October 25, 2007