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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English sparkle, sparcle, equivalent to spark +‎ -le (diminutive suffix).


sparkle (countable and uncountable, plural sparkles)

  1. A little spark; a scintillation.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Edmund Spenser
      As sparkles from the anvil rise, / When heavy hammers on the wedge are swayed.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Prescott
      The shock was sufficiently strong to strike out some sparkles of his fiery temper.
  2. Brilliance; luster.
    the sparkle of a diamond
  3. Liveliness; vivacity.
    the sparkle of his conversation over dinner
  4. The quality of being sparkling or fizzy; effervescence.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English sparklen, spearclen, sperclen, equivalent to spark +‎ -le (frequentative suffix). Cognate with Dutch sparkelen (to sparkle).

Alternative formsEdit


sparkle (third-person singular simple present sparkles, present participle sparkling, simple past and past participle sparkled)

  1. (intransitive) To emit sparks; to throw off ignited or incandescent particles
    The wood was sparkling in the bonfire.
  2. (by extension) To shine as if throwing off sparks; to emit flashes of light; to scintillate; to twinkle
    The stars sparkle in the sky.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Chaucer
      A mantelet upon his shoulder hanging Bretful of rubies red, as fire sparkling.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 5, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      Here, in the transept and choir, where the service was being held, one was conscious every moment of an increasing brightness; colours glowing vividly beneath the circular chandeliers, and the rows of small lights on the choristers' desks flashed and sparkled in front of the boys' faces, deep linen collars, and red neckbands.
  3. (intransitive) To manifest itself by, or as if by, emitting sparks; to glisten; to flash.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes.
  4. (intransitive) To emit little bubbles, as certain kinds of liquors; to effervesce
    sparkling wine
    sparkling water
  5. (transitive) To emit in the form or likeness of sparks.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Spenser
      Did sparkle forth great light.
  6. (transitive, obsolete) To disperse.
    • The Landgrave hath sparkled his army without any further enterprise. — State Papers.
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To scatter on or over.
Derived termsEdit


Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for sparkle in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)