v. shone (shōn) or shined, shin·ing, shines
1. To emit light.
2. To reflect light; glint or glisten.
3. To distinguish oneself in an activity or a field; excel.
4. To be immediately apparent: Delight shone in her eyes.
1. To aim or cast the beam or glow of (a light).
2. past tense and past participle shined To make glossy or bright by polishing.
1. Brightness from a source of light; radiance.
2. Brightness from reflected light; luster.
3. A shoeshine.
4. Excellence in quality or appearance; splendor.
5. Fair weather: rain or shine.
6. shines Informal Pranks or tricks.
7. Slang Whiskey; moonshine.
8. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a black person.
shine up to Informal
To try to impress or please: shined up to the boss, hoping to get a raise.
take a shine to Informal
To like spontaneously.
[Middle English shinen, from Old English scīnan.]
Usage Note: The verb shine has two different past tenses, shined and shone, and these forms also function as past participles. By tradition, the past tense and past participle shone is used when the verb is intransitive and means "to emit light, be luminous": The full moon shone over the field. The form shined, on the other hand, is normally used when the verb is transitive and means "to direct (a beam of light)" or "to polish," as in He shined his flashlight down the dark staircase or The butler shined the silver. In our 2008 survey, the Usage Panel found both forms acceptable in transitive literal use (shone/shined the light) and in figurative intransitive use (Carolyn always shined/shone at ribbon-cutting ceremonies), but a larger majority preferred the traditional usages (shined the light; shone at ceremonies) over the nontraditional ones, so maintaining the traditional distinction remains a sensible practice.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.