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 ?
If -- " She stopped, altered her position a little, and pointed with one hand to the fast-ebbing stream beneath her, gleaming dim in the darkening twilight -- "if I had been what I once was, I would have thrown myself into that river sooner than do what I am going to do now.
It was a much greater surprise to Scrooge to recognise it as his own nephew's and to find himself in a bright, dry, gleaming room, with the Spirit standing smiling by his side, and looking at that same nephew with approving affability.
Then he got up and walked towards a beautiful white palace which he saw gleaming in the distance.
The whiteness of the teeth is not that of ivory, but of the snowiest and most gleaming of china.
A third, being encamped on a hunting expedition full forty miles south of the White Mountains, awoke at midnight, and beheld the Great Carbuncle gleaming like a meteor, so that the shadows of the trees fell backward from it.
A third, being camped on a hunting expedition full forty miles south of the White Mountains, awoke at midnight, and beheld the Great Carbuncle gleaming like a meteor, so that the shadows of the trees fell backward from it.
For a ship with her sails furled on her squared yards, and reflected from truck to water-line in the smooth gleaming sheet of a landlocked harbour, seems, indeed, to a seaman's eye the most perfect picture of slumbering repose.
The horse-hair crests on their gleaming helmets touched one another as they nodded forward, so closely serried were they; the spears they brandished in their strong hands were interlaced, and their hearts were set on battle.
He was on the point of making loose his skiff to return homeward when he saw a light gleaming along the water from a distance, which seemed rapidly approaching.
The face was still imperfect; but gradually, by a magic touch, intelligence and sensibility brightened through the features, with all the effect of light gleaming forth from within the solid oak.
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming, And be sure it will lead us aright -- We safely may trust to a gleaming That cannot but guide us aright, Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night.
It seemed the forest now or nothing, and I was just on the point of motioning Tars Tarkas to follow me in that direction when the sun passed the cliff's zenith, and as the bright rays touched the dull surface it burst out into a million scintillant lights of burnished gold, of flaming red, of soft greens, and gleaming whites--a more gorgeous and inspiring spectacle human eye has never rested upon.
As I came round the jutting promontory of the hill's shoulder I saw that which quickened my pulses and set my heart to beating high, for within a tiny basin between the crest of this hill and the next stood four people before the mouth of a great cave, and beside them upon the gleaming snow rested a flier which had evidently but just been dragged from its hiding place.
Tarzan of the Apes went down beneath the great body of his enemy, but with gleaming knife drawn and striking home.
Slowly but surely was Norman of Torn cutting Peter of Colfax to pieces; little by little, and with such fiendish care that except for loss of blood, the man was in no way crippled; nor did the outlaw touch his victim's face with his gleaming sword; that he was saving for the fulfillment of his design.