spar·​kle | \ ˈspär-kəl How to pronounce sparkle (audio) \
sparkled; sparkling\ ˈspär-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce sparkle (audio) \

Definition of sparkle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to throw out sparks
b : to give off or reflect bright moving points of light
c : to perform brilliantly
2 : effervesce wine that sparkles
3 : to become lively or animated the dialogue sparkles with wit eyes sparkling with anger

transitive verb

: to cause to glitter or shine



Definition of sparkle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a little spark : scintillation
2 : the quality of sparkling
b : the quality or state of being effervescent

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Synonyms for sparkle

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for sparkle


flash, gleam, glint, sparkle, glitter, glisten, glimmer, shimmer mean to send forth light. flash implies a sudden outburst of bright light. lightning flashed gleam suggests a steady light seen through an obscuring medium or against a dark background. lights gleamed in the valley glint implies a cold glancing light. glinting steel sparkle suggests innumerable moving points of bright light. the sparkling waters glitter connotes a brilliant sparkling or gleaming. glittering diamonds glisten applies to the soft sparkle from a wet or oily surface. glistening wet sidewalk glimmer suggests a faint or wavering gleam. a distant glimmering light shimmer means shining with a wavering light. a shimmering satin dress

Examples of sparkle in a Sentence

Verb The dancers sparkled on stage. Her eyes sparkled with pride. Noun The sun reflected off the water in bright sparkles of light. He caught the sparkle of her diamond out of the corner of his eye. a performance full of sparkle and originality the sparkle in her eyes
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Make mom’s day sparkle with a subscription to Leada Gore |, al, "Mother’s Day 2021: Top gift ideas to order online, have delivered to her door," 3 May 2021 Nature trails sparkle with gentle lights reflecting a theme of peace, tranquility and inspiration, featuring the forest as a canvas for an artistic display of light. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, "Top 5 things to do in Cincinnati this weekend: Dec. 4-6," 5 Apr. 2021 San Diego County beach-goers should be on the lookout for bioluminescence, a harmless phenomenon that causes ocean waters to sparkle at night with enchanting neon blue light. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego beach-goers might be treated to the beauty of bioluminescence in local waters," 24 Mar. 2021 His beard’s filled with red glitter under a matching mohawk, and the rhinestones rimming his glasses sparkle in the stage lights. Matthew J. Palm,, "As Pepe adapts to the times, creator Rob Ward feels energized, not ‘canceled’," 17 Mar. 2021 The bright fluorescent lights in the small room made their costume jewels sparkle. Los Angeles Times, "The conversation you don’t want to have is the one you need most — especially with COVID," 7 Mar. 2021 Nearby, a giant bronze pod by the Italian artist and leather goods designer Serena Cancellier dangles from an olive tree branch, exploding with streams of crystal seeds that sparkle in the fading afternoon light. New York Times, "A Provençal Estate That Is a Home and a Gallery," 2 Mar. 2021 And, like in the past, jewelry has always been one of the best ways to sparkle and celebrate. Jill Newman, Town & Country, "Boucheron Is Making High Jewelry for All Genders," 25 Jan. 2021 Jewelry should sparkle, but exposure to dust and dirt, lotions and soaps, even air and moisture can dull your favorite pieces over time and rob them of their gleam. Lauren Smith Mcdonough And Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean Your Jewelry Like a Pro," 20 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Its cream to matte consistency blends effortlessly into skin without leaving harsh streaks or patches of sparkle. Bianca Salonga, Forbes, "Beauty Tricks And Tips For A Sun-Kissed Summer Glow All Year Long," 27 Apr. 2021 The crystal is bright and eye-catching, and will help add some sparkle and shine to your room. Liv Birdsall, USA TODAY, "20 cute buys under $30 to refresh your bedroom," 25 Mar. 2021 If your budget isn't quite at the private fireworks level, Disney has several other options that'll add a little extra sparkle to your day. Tarah Chieffi, Travel + Leisure, "10 Magical Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do at Your Disney Wedding," 23 Mar. 2021 Add a little sparkle to your Mother’s Day morning by mingling a standard mimosa with the flavors of a sea breeze cocktail (vodka topped with cranberry and grapefruit juices). Magdalena O'neal, Sunset Magazine, "Champagne Cocktails to Toast With This New Year’s Eve," 30 Dec. 2020 These glitzy holders will add some sparkle to your table. Jennifer Aldrich, Better Homes & Gardens, "The 7 Most Festive Christmas Napkin Rings for Your Holiday Celebrations," 26 Oct. 2020 Evans looked at images of Halston and Yves Saint Laurent models and muses, then spiced it up with the band’s signature leopard print and plenty of sparkle. Sarah Spellings, Vogue, "Josie and the Pussycats Is One of the Greatest Y2K Fashion Movies," 9 Apr. 2021 The must-have is the 18-karat Sedna gold bracelet version with the burgundy dial and extra sparkle of diamonds. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, "Omega Just Debuted 13 New Watches, Including a Slew of New Seamasters," 23 Mar. 2021 Amid the sea of bipartisan purples and all-American maroons, navys, and whites on Inauguration Day, Dr. Jill Biden’s custom sky-blue coat and dress stood out thanks to their unique color and additional bit of sparkle. Eliza Huber,, "Dr. Jill Biden’s Sparkly Inauguration Day Look Is A Tribute To American Designers," 20 Jan. 2021

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

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First Known Use of sparkle


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sparkle


Middle English, frequentative of sparken to spark


Middle English, diminutive of sparke

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Learn More about sparkle

Time Traveler for sparkle

Time Traveler

The first known use of sparkle was in the 13th century

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Statistics for sparkle

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sparkle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for sparkle



English Language Learners Definition of sparkle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to produce small flashes of light
: to perform very well
: to be or become bright and lively



English Language Learners Definition of sparkle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small flash of bright light
: a lively quality


spar·​kle | \ ˈspär-kəl How to pronounce sparkle (audio) \
sparkled; sparkling

Kids Definition of sparkle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to give off small flashes of light The diamond sparkled.
2 : to be lively or bright The conversation sparkled. His eyes sparkled.



Kids Definition of sparkle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a little flash of light sparkles of red light
2 : the quality of being bright or giving off small flashes of light the sparkle of a diamond the sparkle of her eyes

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