Etymology
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glisten (v.)
Old English glisnian "to glisten, gleam," from Proto-Germanic *glis- (source also of Old English glisian "to glitter, shine," Old Frisian glisa "to shine," Middle High German glistern "to sparkle," Old Danish glisse "to shine"), from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives referring to bright materials and gold. Related: Glistened; glistening.
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glistening (adj.)
late 14c., present-participle adjective from glisten (v.).
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*ghel- (2)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to shine;" it forms words for "gold" (the "bright" metal), words denoting colors, especially "yellow" and "green," also "bile, gall," for its color, and a large group of Germanic gl- words having to do with shining and glittering and, perhaps, sliding. Buck says the interchange of words for yellow and green is "perhaps because they were applied to vegetation like grass, cereals, etc., which changed from green to yellow."

It forms all or part of: arsenic; Chloe; chloral; chloride; chlorinate; chlorine; chloro-; chloroform; chlorophyll; chloroplast; cholecyst; choler; cholera; choleric; cholesterol; cholinergic; Cloris; gall (n.1) "bile, liver secretion;" gild; glad; glance; glare; glass; glaze; glazier; gleam; glee; glib; glide; glimmer; glimpse; glint; glissade; glisten; glister; glitch; glitter; glitzy; gloaming; gloat; gloss (n.1) "glistening smoothness, luster;" glow; glower; gold; guilder; jaundice; melancholic; melancholy; yellow; zloty.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit harih "yellow, tawny yellow," hiranyam "gold;" Avestan zari "yellow;" Old Persian daraniya-, Avestan zaranya- "gold;"  Greek khlōros "greenish-yellow color,"  kholos "bile, gall, wrath;"  Latin helvus "yellowish, bay," Gallo-Latin gilvus "light bay;" Lithuanian geltonas "yellow;" Old Church Slavonic zlutu, Polish żółty, Russian zeltyj "yellow;" Latin galbus "greenish-yellow," fellis "bile, gall;" Lithuanian žalias "green," želvas "greenish," tulžis "bile;" Old Church Slavonic zelenu, Polish zielony, Russian zelenyj "green;" Old Irish glass, Welsh and Breton glas "green," also "gray, blue;" Old English galla "gall, bile," geolu, geolwe, German gelb, Old Norse gulr "yellow;" Old Church Slavonic zlato, Russian zoloto, Old English gold, Gothic gulþ "gold;" Old English glæs "glass; a glass vessel."

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spangle (v.)
1540s, "cover with spangles," from spangle (n.). Intransitive meaning "glitter, glisten" is from 1630s. Related: Spangled; spangling.
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shimmer (v.)
Old English scimerian "to glitter, shimmer, glisten, shine," related to (perhaps a frequentative of) scimian "to shine," from Proto-Germanic *skim- (source also of Swedish skimra, Dutch schemeren "to glitter," German schimmern), from PIE root *skai- "to gleam, to shine" (see shine (v.). Related: Shimmered; shimmering.
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gleam (n.)
Old English glæm "a brilliant light; brightness; splendor, radiance, beauty," from Proto-Germanic *glaimiz (source also of Old Saxon glimo "brightness;" Middle High German glim "spark," gleime "glow-worm;" German glimmen "to glimmer, glow;" Old Norse glja "to shine, glitter, glisten"), from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine."
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glimpse (v.)
c. 1400, "to glisten, be dazzling," probably from Old English *glimsian "shine faintly," part of the group of Germanic words in *gl- having to do with "smooth; shining; joyous," from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine." If so, the unetymological -p- would be there to ease pronunciation. From mid-15c. as "to glance with the eyes;" from 1779 as "catch a quick view." Related: Glimpsed; glimpsing.
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glint (v.)
1787 (intransitive), from Scottish, where apparently it survived as an alteration of glent, from Middle English glenten "gleam, flash, glisten" (mid-15c.), from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian gletta "to look," dialectal Swedish glinta "to shine"), from the group of Germanic *gl- words meaning "smooth; shining; joyous," from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives referring to bright materials and gold. Reintroduced into literary English by Burns. Related: Glinted; glinting.
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splendid (adj.)

1620s, "marked by grandeur," probably a shortening of earlier splendidious (early 15c.), from Latin splendidus "bright, shining, glittering; sumptuous, gorgeous, grand; illustrious, distinguished, noble; showy, fine, specious," from splendere "be bright, shine, gleam, glisten," from PIE *splnd- "to be manifest" (source also of Lithuanian splendžiu "I shine," Middle Irish lainn "bright"). An earlier form was splendent (late 15c.). From 1640s as "brilliant, dazzling;" 1640s as "conspicuous, illustrious; very fine, excellent." Ironic use (as in splendid isolation, 1843) is attested from 17c.

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