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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English shene, schene, from Old English sċīene (beautiful, fair, bright, brilliant, light), from Proto-Germanic *skauniz (beautiful), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kewh₁-. Cognate with Scots schene, scheine (beautiful, fair, attractive), Saterland Frisian skeen (clean, pure), West Frisian skjin (nice, clean), Dutch schoon (clean, beautiful, fair), German schön (beautiful), Danish skøn (beautiful), Swedish skön (beautiful, fine). Compare also the loanword Finnish kaunis (beautiful). See also English show.


sheen (comparative sheener, superlative sheenest)

  1. (rare, poetic) Beautiful, good-looking, attractive; radiant; shiny.
    • 1814, Walter Scott, Waverley:
      Where the fountains glisten sheenest [] (ch. 12).
    • Fairfax
      Up rose each warrier bold and brave, / Glistening in filed steel and armor sheen.

Derived termsEdit


sheen (countable and uncountable, plural sheens)

  1. Splendor; radiance; shininess.
    • 1946, Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan
      There is a greenish sheen across the shoulders of his greasy black suit, for the morning light has of a sudden begun to dance through the bay window.
  2. A thin layer of a substance (such as oil) spread on a solid or liquid surface.
    oil sheen
    • 2004, Harold McGee, chapter 1, in On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, →ISBN:
      Perhaps the simplest of sauces is the pat of butter dropped on a heap of hot vegetables, or stirred into rice or noodles, or drawn across the surface of an omelet or steak to give a sheen.
    • 2017, Jeffrey Miller, Ann Powers, Introduction to Environmental Law: Cases and Materials on Water Pollution Control, West Academic (→ISBN)
      Take the floating scum or oil sheen prohibitions. A discharger or an inspector simply can look to see if scum, or an oil sheen, is coming from a particular discharge. Assume an oil sheen begins at a discharge—is the sheen caused by that []

Derived termsEdit



sheen (third-person singular simple present sheens, present participle sheening, simple past and past participle sheened)

  1. (rare, intransitive, poetic) To shine; to glisten.
    • Byron
      This town,
      That, sheening far, celestial seems to be.


Etymology 2Edit


sheen (plural sheens)

  1. The letter ش in the Arabic script.

Further readingEdit