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 ?
His back-drawn, snarling lips exposed his great fighting fangs, and his little, wicked, blood-shot eyes gleamed in horrid reflection of his madness.
The Myrmidons were struck with awe, and none dared look full at it, for they were afraid; but Achilles was roused to still greater fury, and his eyes gleamed with a fierce light, for he was glad when he handled the splendid present which the god had made him.
In the midst of them all Achilles put on his armour; he gnashed his teeth, his eyes gleamed like fire, for his grief was greater than he could bear.
They threw glowing balls, which stuck on the wall and gleamed.
Engines growled and aluminium gleamed in the Bank Holiday sun as replicas of some of the world's best known sports cars converged at the National Agricultural Centre for the two-day event.
Star power not only gleamed in the sky but glittered onstage when Lula Washington's Los Angeles-based troupe presented a 10-part program, "Looking Back/Moving Forward--25 Years of Dance and Going On .