spark

1 of 4

noun (1)

1
a
: a small particle of a burning substance thrown out by a body in combustion or remaining when combustion is nearly completed
b
: a hot glowing particle struck from a larger mass
especially : one heated by friction
2
a
: a luminous disruptive electrical discharge of very short duration between two conductors separated by a gas (such as air)
b
: the discharge in a spark plug
c
: the mechanism controlling the discharge in a spark plug
3
4
: something that sets off a sudden force
provided the spark that helped the team to rally
5
: a latent particle capable of growth or developing : germ
still retains a spark of decency
6
sparks plural in form but singular in construction : a radio operator on a ship

spark

2 of 4

verb (1)

sparked; sparking; sparks

intransitive verb

1
a
: to throw out sparks
b
: to flash or fall like sparks
2
: to produce sparks
specifically : to have the electric ignition working
3
: to respond with enthusiasm

transitive verb

1
: to set off in a burst of activity : activate
the question sparked a lively discussion
often used with off
2
: to stir to activity : incite
sparked her team to victory

spark

3 of 4

noun (2)

1
: a foppish young man
2
: lover, beau
sparkish adjective

spark

4 of 4

verb (2)

sparked; sparking; sparks
: woo, court

Examples of spark in a Sentence

Noun (1) not a spark of interest in the actress's memoirs Verb (1) the broken radio sparked and smoked the instant it was plugged in interesting questions that are designed to spark the reader's brain President Kennedy's inspirational speeches sparked a generation of young idealists to enter the public arena
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Pico delves into questions about nourishment, home, friendship, culture, and loneliness, all while bringing a spark of genuine humor to the proceedings. Kristen Arnett, TIME, 4 June 2024 The weather service encouraged people in the area to mitigate fire risk by properly disposing of cigarettes and matches, avoiding power equipment that may create sparks, not letting vehicle parts drag along the ground and not using lawn equipment on dry or dead grass. Camila Pedrosa, Sacramento Bee, 4 June 2024
Verb
The outrage sparked a new chapter in the LGBTQ+ movement in which activists could organize openly. Olivia B. Waxman, TIME, 6 June 2024 News of Gaga and Polansky’s romance sparked a very unusual reaction from his ex-girlfriend, journalist Lindsay Crouse. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, 5 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for spark 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spark.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English sparke, from Old English spearca; akin to Middle Dutch sparke spark and perhaps to Latin spargere to scatter

Noun (2)

perhaps from spark entry 1

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun (2)

circa 1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1787, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spark was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near spark

Cite this Entry

“Spark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spark. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

spark

1 of 3 noun
1
a
: a small bit of a burning material
b
: a hot glowing bit struck from a mass
2
: a short bright flash of electricity between two points
3
4
: a small amount that could grow into something larger
still has a spark of decency

spark

2 of 3 verb
1
: to give off or cause to give off sparks
2
: to cause to get going
the question sparked quite an argument
sparked the team to victory

spark

3 of 3 verb
sparker noun
Etymology

Noun

Old English spearca "spark"

Verb

from earlier spark (noun) "a foolish young man, boyfriend"

Biographical Definition

Spark

biographical name

Dame Muriel (Sarah) 1918–2006 née Camberg British writer

More from Merriam-Webster on spark

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