scin·​til·​la·​tion ˌsin-tə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce scintillation (audio)
: an act or instance of scintillating
especially : rapid changes in the brightness of a celestial body
: a spark or flash emitted in scintillating
: a flash of light produced in a phosphor by an ionizing event
: a brilliant outburst (as of wit)
: a flash of the eye

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web See the white or black spots flickering at the intersections in this image from Ninio's study? Blurred Hermann grids produce, as found by Bergen (1985), a scintillation effect. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 12 Sep. 2016 This reaction produces a tiny amount of light—scintillation—which is measured by sensors and subsequently processed by computer algorithms. WIRED, 13 Jan. 2023 The strange state of affairs today is that one scintillation experiment—DAMA, located at Gran Sasso—has actually seen a signal. Lisa Randall, Discover Magazine, 21 Feb. 2012 There will be a flash or scintillation of ultraviolet light. Fred Guterl, Discover Magazine, 16 Nov. 2010 Hilary Duff's Late Late Show look some subtle scintillation. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 27 Feb. 2022 But Wang found hallmarks of scintillation from six galaxies at once. Star Tribune, 24 Feb. 2021 But Wang found hallmarks of scintillation from six galaxies at once. Max G. Levy, Wired, 24 Feb. 2021 Detecting scintillation from distant galaxies is very rare. Star Tribune, 24 Feb. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scintillation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of scintillation was in 1585

Dictionary Entries Near scintillation

Cite this Entry

“Scintillation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 2023.

Medical Definition


scin·​til·​la·​tion ˌsint-ᵊl-ˈā-shən How to pronounce scintillation (audio)
often attributive
: a flash of light produced in a phosphor by an ionizing event

More from Merriam-Webster on scintillation

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