scintilla was our Word of the Day on 10/24/2013. Hear the podcast!
Examples of scintilla in a sentence
there is not a scintilla of evidence for your outrageous claims
Did You Know?
Scintilla comes directly from Latin, where it carries the meaning of "spark" - that is, a bright flash such as you might see from a burning ember. In English, however, our use of "scintilla" is restricted to the figurative sense of "spark" - a hint or trace of something that barely suggests its presence. The Latin scintilla is related to the verb "scintillare," which means "to sparkle" and is responsible for our verb "scintillate" ("to sparkle or gleam," literally or figuratively). In an odd twist, "scintilla" underwent a transposition of the "c" and the "t" (a linguistic phenomenon known as metathesis) to create the Vulgar Latin form stincilla, which is believed to be an ancestor of our word stencil.
Origin and Etymology of scintilla
First Known Use: 1661
SCINTILLA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of scintilla for English Language Learners
: a very small amount of something
Legal Definition of scintilla
: a small trace or barely perceptible amount of something (as evidence supporting a position)
Seen and Heard
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