scintilla

play
noun scin·til·la \sin-ˈti-lə\

Definition of scintilla

  1. :  spark, trace not a scintilla of doubt

scintilla was our Word of the Day on 10/24/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of scintilla in a Sentence

  1. 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

Latin


SCINTILLA Defined for English Language Learners

scintilla

play
noun

Definition of scintilla for English Language Learners

  • : a very small amount of something


Law Dictionary

scintilla

play
noun scin·til·la \sin-ˈti-lə\

Legal Definition of scintilla

  1. :  a small trace or barely perceptible amount of something (as evidence supporting a position)



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up scintilla? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to plunder or ravage

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time-traveler-quiz-which-word-came-first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!