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Etymology 1[edit]

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


sparkle (countable and uncountable, plural sparkles)

  1. A little spark; a scintillation.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938, book I, canto XI, stanza 42:
      As sparckles from the Anduile vse to fly, / When heauie hammers on the wedge are swaid
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 2, page 112:
      The lamp was shaded, and the fire was dim, when suddenly the log, which had burnt through, gave way; a shower of sparkles rose from the hearth, and a bright blaze illuminated the room, falling full on Francesca's face, as she bent over the patient.
    • 1855–1858, William H[ickling] Prescott, History of the Reign of Philip the Second, King of Spain, volume (please specify |volume=I to III), Boston, Mass.: Phillips, Sampson, and Company, OCLC 645131689:
      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 2[edit]

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

Alternative forms[edit]


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.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter V, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071:
      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.
  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.
  6. (transitive, obsolete) To disperse.
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To scatter on or over.
Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]


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.)


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of sparkel