Glitter is the word used to describe an assortment of very small (roughly 1 mm²) pieces of paper, glass or plastic painted in metallic, neon and iridescent colors to reflect light in a sparkling spectrum. Glitter is usually stored in canisters somewhat similar to salt shakers, which have openings that control the flow of glitter. These canisters may contain one or many colors. It is not to be confused with confetti, which contains larger pieces, nor sequins, which are larger yet. Glitter is commonly used in craft projects, especially for small children and sorority women, because of the brilliant effects which can be achieved relatively easily. Glitter is commonly used as an element of Christmas decorations, and can be added to rubbers and plastics. It is also often put into cosmetic products like lip gloss and eyeshadow. Glittery cosmetics are most popular among teenagers, but are also worn by older people, notably in the disco scene. Glitter was invented by Henry Ruschmann on his Hereford cattle farm in Bernardsville, New Jersey. Accounts conflict as to when glitter was invented--some say 1934 and others shortly after World War II. Today the company he founded Meadowbrook Inventions is the world's leading manufacturer and supplier of glitter and has been for over fifty years.

Alternative definitions

  • "Glitter" is often used euphemistically to refer to brilliantly gorgeous but superficial glamour. From this meaning comes the term glitterati to refer to pop stars and socialites.The word is a portmanteau of "glitter" and "literati"
  • Glitter graphics are animated gifs that have a glittery effect.


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