Green’s Dictionary of Slang

glimmer n.

[SE glimmer, to shine; ult. Du./Ger. glimmer, to shine]

1. (UK Und., also glim, glimmar, glymmer) fire; thus a lantern etc.

[UK]Harman Caveat for Common Cursetours in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 83: glymmar, fyre.
[UK]Groundworke of Conny-catching Ch. 16: Glymmar in their language is fier.
[UK]Dekker in Belman’s Second Nights Walk B2: Glymmer signifies fire.
[UK]Dekker ‘Canting Song’ O per se O O3: When the Dark-mans have been wet, thou the crack-mans downe didst beate, For Glymmer.
[UK]Dekker ‘Canting Song’ in Eng. Villainies (8th edn) O2: Doxie oh! thy Glaziers shine, as Glymmer; by the Salomon.
[UK]Dekker ‘Canters Dict.’ Eng. Villainies (9th edn).
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue I 49: Glymmer, Fire.
[UK] ‘A Wenches complaint for . . . her lusty Rogue’ Head Canting Academy (1674) 17: [as cit. 1612].
[UK]R. Holme Academy of Armory Ch. iii item 68c: Canting Terms used by Beggars, Vagabonds, Cheaters, Cripples and Bedlams. [...] Glimmer, fire.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Glymmer fire.
[UK]J. Shirley Triumph of Wit 196: And Jybe well jerk’d, tick rome conseck, / for back by Glimmar to maund.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. I 209: He taught his Pupil a deal of canting Words, telling him [...] Glymmer, a Fire.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. n.p.: glimmer, c. fire.
[UK]Canting Academy, or the Pedlar’s-French Dict. 115: A Fire The Glim.
[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Glymmer, fire, (cant).
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn) n.p.: Glimmer. Fire. Cant.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant n.p.: Glymmer the fire.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1796].
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict. n.p.: Glimmer a lighted candle.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 37: glimmer The fire.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890).
[Ire]‘Myles na gCopaleen’ Best of Myles (1968) 104: Some day I may call, stuff you into your own oven, and roast you on the glimmer.

2. (also glim, glimmar, glymmer) venereal disease.

[UK]Dekker O per se O N3: Their female furies come hotly and smoaking from thence, carrying about them Glymmar in the Prat [...] oftentimes there is Glymmar in the Jocky.
[UK]Dekker ‘Canting Song’ in Eng. Villainies (8th edn) O3: Dimber Damber fare thee well [...] And thy Jocky bore the Bell, Glymmer on it never fell.
[UK] ‘A Wenches complaint for . . . her lusty Rogue’ Head Canting Academy (1674) 17: [as cit. 1637].
[UK]‘Rum-Mort’s Praise of Her Faithless Maunder’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 35: [as cit. 1637].
[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict.

3. the eye; often in pl.

[UK]Sailor’s Return I vi: Get out of my way, you booby, or I’ll darken your glimmers for you . Madam never refuses to see Ben Block.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 110: [I] was enabled to return the compliment with interest, by sewing up one of his glimmers.
[UK]Leics. Chron. 30 May 9/1: I went to hang a smile in front of me. / But weeps were in my glimmers when I tried.
[US]W. Irwin Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum XXI n.p.: I went to hang smile in front of me, But weeps were in my glimmers when I tried.
[US]A. Berkman Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1926) 130: Had a scrap wid de screws. Almost knocked me glimmer out.
[US]Appleton Post-Crescent (WI) 4 May 9/4: Flapper Dictionary glimmers – Eyes. [Ibid.] 10 May 13/6–7: put the glimmers on – Take notice.
Ogden Standard Examiner 12 Apr. 6/5: I got my glimmers on Tommie Smith.
[Aus](con. WWI) A.G. Pretty Gloss. of Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: glimmer. ‘The Eye.’.
[US](con. 1890s) H. Asbury Gangs of N.Y. 276: ‘I only give her a little poke,’ he exclaimed. ‘Just enough to put a shanty on her glimmer. But I always takes off me knucks first.’.
[Aus]Cairns Post (Qld) 23 May 4/2: Glue your glimmers on these gifts.
[US]C. Himes ‘Make with the Shape’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 113: Johnny’s blackened glimmer didn’t blind him to the fact that her objective was mayhem.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Coffin for a Coward’ in Hollywood Detective Dec. [Internet] Now it was her beautiful map that was falling apart. Her crimson kisser hung slack, her glimmers bulged like squeezed grapes and her complexion was floury.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 82/2: Glimmers. The eyes; eyeglasses.
[US]Babs Gonzales ‘The Be-Bop Santa Claus’ [lyrics] When his glimmers fell on a red Cadillac.

4. (US) a match; a locomotive headlight; a kerosene lamp.

[US]F.H. Hubbard Railroad Avenue 344: Glimmer – Locomotive headlight.

5. (US) a cut gem.

[US]J. Lait Gus the Bus 53: If dey ketches me wit’ dis here glimmer on me, I goes to stir.

6. a person who watches vacant motorcars.

[UK]‘George Orwell’ Down and Out in Complete Works I (1986) 176: These (omitting the ones that everyone knows) are some of the cant words now used in London: [...] A glimmer – one who watches vacant motor-cars.

7. (US) a black eye.

[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.
[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.

8. an electric light, a torch.

[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 117: A paper bag was wrapped around the overhead glimmer to curb the brightness.
[UK] ‘Screwsman’s Lament’ in Encounter n.d. in Norman Norman’s London (1969) 67: We went round to my gaff, to get my turtle doves, / My stick, tools and glimmer, which every screwsman loves.
[UK] (ref. to 1930s–70s) R. Barnes Coronation Cups and Jam Jars 206: Glimmer – Torch.

9. a beggar, esp. one who claims to have lost all his possessions in a fire.

[UK]S. Jackson Indiscreet Guide to Soho 121: Whining ‘glimmers’ who tell hard-luck stories.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 186: Glimmer A beggar.

10. (US) a sight, a view.

[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 24: Making sure my pumpernickel pal got a good glimmer before I set off.

In phrases