gleam

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gleam in (one's) eye

1. A facial expression that denotes happiness, amusement, or knowledge of a secret. Just when Rita thought all hope was lost, Jared got a gleam in his eye that told her he had a plan to get them both out of that sticky situation.
2. A hope or plan that is not yet in existence. You were not even a gleam in your mother's eye when that photo was taken.
See also: eye, gleam

gleam with something

to sparkle or shine with something. The crystal goblets gleamed with the sparkling candlelight. The glass gleamed with a bright reflection.
See also: gleam

a twinkle in someone's eye

or

a gleam in someone's eye

If a plan or project is only a twinkle in or a gleam in someone's eye, it is only at the stage of being considered as a possibility. Projects that a few years back were just a twinkle in the planners' eyes are now bricks and cement. At this point, space-launched weapons were still only a gleam in his eye. Note: You can also talk about a glint in someone's eye. The European central bank was still no more than a glint in its creators' eyes. Note: Words such as gleam, glint and twinkle can be used to describe the way people's eyes shine or reflect the light. They often suggest hidden energy, emotion, or humour and refer to the excitement of having a particular idea before putting it into practice.
See also: eye, twinkle

a gleam (or twinkle) in someone's eye

1 a barely formed idea. 2 a child who has not yet been conceived. humorous
See also: eye, gleam

a twinkle in someone's eye

something that is still in the pre-planning stage and on which no action has yet been taken, especially a child not as yet conceived. informal
See also: eye, twinkle
References in classic literature ?
He thought also at one time that he saw a tall figure skulking after them, stopping when they stopped and moving on as they proceeded; but the dim and uncertain lamplight threw such vague gleams and shadows that this might all have been mere fancy.
They fancied a legion of hobgoblins let loose upon them, and that they saw, by the fitful gleams of the scattered embers, strange figures, in red caps, gibbering and ramping around them.
Though their figures brushed the small boughs by the wayside, it could not be seen that they intercepted, even for a moment, the faint gleam from the strip of bright sky athwart which they must have passed.
She watched him with eyes in which there was a gleam sometimes almost of horror.
They thronged the narrow length of our schooner's decks with their ornamented and barbarous crowd, with the variegated colours of checkered sarongs, red turbans, white jackets, embroideries; with the gleam of scabbards, gold rings, charms, armlets, lance blades, and jewelled handles of their weapons.
Why, it will gleam through the holes, and make thee look like a jack-o'-lantern
Is all our Life, then but a dream Seen faintly in the goldern gleam Athwart Time's dark resistless stream?
As the lightning which the son of Saturn brandishes from bright Olympus when he would show a sign to mortals, and its gleam flashes far and wide--even so did his armour gleam about him as he ran.
Astor, for the success of this object of his ambition, that this gleam of good news was almost overpowering.
The next day Tarzan was practicing with his bow and arrows at the first gleam of dawn.
said the Emperor reassured, and with a kindly gleam in his eyes, he patted Michaud on the shoulder.
Here the Company were quartered in a scattered mountain hamlet, and Alleyne spent the day looking down upon the swarming army which poured with gleam of spears and flaunt of standards through the narrow pass.
She had told Anne that she never felt satisfied without a gleam of red somewhere about her, if it were only a flower.
A gleam of sunshine had caught one of the windows, which shone like fire.
The lawyer's gray eyes tried not to laugh, but they were dancing with irrepressible glee, and Alexey Alexandrovitch saw that it was not simply the delight of a man who has just got a profitable job: there was triumph and joy, there was a gleam like the malignant gleam he saw in his wife's eyes.