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 shimmer or twinkle with something. Katie's engagement ring looked especially stunning as it gleamed with sunlight. Lydia's eyes gleamed with emotion as she listened to the toast in her honor.
See also: gleam
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in classic literature ?
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.
As the Star Wars Celebration Europe came to a close, fans of the series gleamed several facts about the upcoming movie.
More than 450 Longbridgebuilt cars gleamed in the glorious weekend sunshine to mark the third anniversary of the closure of MG Rover.
They threw glowing balls, which stuck on the wall and gleamed. They advanced and retreated, forming on the floor a graph of their political engagement.
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 ..." as part of its Silver Anniversary celebration.