Consider the following sentence:

The metal sheets are glistening with water drops filled with a mix of dust and acid."

It is unclear to me if I can rewrite it using "glistening from":

"The metal sheets are glistening from water drops filled with a mix of dust and acid."

The only dictionary example I could find states "glistening with sweat" rather than "glistening from sweat", but it doesn't explain why.

"Gone are the wavy curls, glistening with sweat and flopping a full second behind his every move."

(The Daily Beast, "Roger Federer’s Hair Evolution", by Sujay Kumar, June 8, 2013, given as an example by Dictionary.com)

  • Maybe this Ngram will be of interest.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 15:40
  • Thank you @Jim. I modified yours, into one that poignantly shows how glistening from is almost never used. Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 15:45
  • @BennyBottema - But it is used. As George Carlin points out, “Hand me that piano” is also hardly ever used, but it’s perfectly grammatical.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 15:51
  • ngram glistening from *
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 15:59
  • Then do “glistening from the *” the link is too long to post in a comment.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 16:02

2 Answers 2


Using with or from should be make a difference in the meaning of the adverbial adjunct.

Glistening with:

A shrub glistening with ice (see reference)

The ice is the medium through which the glistening happens.

The usage with from does not seem that usual; I would use it to describe the source of the glistening: light (or some causal event).

The diamond was glistening from the lights in the ceiling.

He was dressed neatly in grey flannel trousers, jacket and blue striped shirt, his hair still glistening from the shower (see reference, no 30).

For your question, the sentence:

The metal sheets are glistening with water drops filled with a mix of water and acid.

I guess they are glistening from the sun.

  • Have you any idea which corpus/corpora Sentencedict.com draws from, fralau? Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 16:06
  • No, unfortunately I don't know. I used it because it made sense.
    – fralau
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 16:18
  • To glisten from [x] provides the source or result that produces the glistening. /To glisten with/ goes to the substance of the glistening. Glistening from exerting effort. Glistening with anticipation.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 16:29
  • 'Sentencedict' could be a very valuable source, but some endorsement of its reliability is needed. Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 21:46

glistening with an object = the thing that is glistening is stated. glistening from [some activity]= goes to what causes the glistening.

1) Her face glistened with raindrops = an object, raindrops make her face glisten.

2) Her face glistened from overexertion. An activity

the implication is here: there are drops of sweat on her face.

In my view, this is basically the answer to the with/from "conundrum".

reference: my head

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