spar·​kle | \ˈspär-kəl \
sparkled; sparkling\ˈspär-​k(ə-​)liŋ \

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

3a : animation, liveliness

b : the quality or state of being effervescent

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Other Words from sparkle


sparkly \ˈspär-​k(ə-​)lē \ adjective

Synonyms for sparkle

Synonyms: Verb

scintillate, spark

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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


The dancers sparkled on stage. Her eyes sparkled with pride.


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

December 14: The holidays are time for glitter and no brand does sparkle like Stila. Glamour, "Ulta's Holiday Beauty Blitz Sale Is Offering Different Deals Each Day," 12 Dec. 2018 The silver sparkled in the late Sunday afternoon sunlight as the Stanley Cup made its way toward Red Square. Isabelle Khurshudyan,, "Alex Ovechkin brings the Stanley Cup to his homeland of Russia: 'It was incredible'," 9 July 2018 Elevation Note: Instead of using prosecco, try making this with sparkling rosé. Ella Riley-adams, Vogue, "The Best Drink to Make After a Breakup (and Other Purposeful Cocktails)," 22 Oct. 2018 Drink: The dinner for two includes your choice of bottle (rosé, sparkling, red or white). Tan Vinh, The Seattle Times, "The best dinner-for-two deal in Seattle: a bottle of wine and 2 pasta entrees for $35," 18 Sep. 2018 Naturally occurring bubbles are characteristic of sparkling water. Kristen Fischer, Fox News, "Is seltzer good for you?," 9 Sep. 2018 The opaque color has blue undertones that flatter every skin tone and make your teeth sparkle, as if a drop of coffee has never passed your lips. Elizabeth Siegel, Allure, "The September 2018 Allure Beauty Box: See All the Product Samples You'll Get This Month," 1 Sep. 2018 Dinner guests will also enjoy a glass of sparkling rosé. Julie Giuffrida,, "Where to take mom for Mother's Day brunch," 3 May 2018 There’s the crowd-pleaser Campari, sparkling rosé, and lemon soda. Alex Beggs, Bon Appetit, "Booze + Soda + Bubbly Wine = All You Need for These 6 Spritz Recipes," 23 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Dior’s pressed highlighting compact and Tatcha's gilded lip balm sparkle like gelt, while Augustinus Bader's cult face cream gives skin an appropriately candlelit glow. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Happy Hanukkah! 8 Days of Blue-and-Gold Beauty Treasures to Give and Receive," 29 Nov. 2018 The shades are a mix of pinks, reds, and golds, with plenty of festive sparkle. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Kylie Jenner Just Revealed Her Entire 2018 Holiday Makeup Collection on Instagram," 14 Nov. 2018 Jada Smith returned to Polo Park Middle School in Wellington with a lot more sparkle — both figuratively and literally — following a dazzling all-around performance in the recent Palm Beach County championship track and field meet. Gary Curreri,, "Polo Park, Crestwood tracksters make impact in county championship meet," 30 June 2018 The added sparkle of Chopard hoops, rings, and a vintage watch helped, but the proverbial shine was all her own. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Rihanna Delivers a Couture Twist on the Bucket Hat," 3 Oct. 2018 And next to the sparkle and tenderness of To All the Boys, poor Sierra is a cold and clumsy mess. Constance Grady, Vox, "Peter Kavinsky and Barb from Stranger Things can’t salvage Sierra Burgess Is a Loser," 7 Sep. 2018 Today, the 1,000-square-foot-store sparkles with bright white walls and floors, a striking contrast to the hits of color that liven up the space. Gail Goldberg,, "Intentionally Blank steps it up with new Mission store," 21 June 2018 Beneath the album’s aspirational sparkle, a sense of vertigo lends Everything Is Love real drama. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Surprise Album Makes Marriage Into a Spectacle," 17 June 2018 Twain rallied with the pep of a cheerleader and the sparkle of a diva. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Shania Twain brings her country-pop dazzle to Houston," 10 June 2018

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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Statistics for sparkle

Last Updated

17 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sparkle

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

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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 \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on sparkle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sparkle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sparkle

Spanish Central: Translation of sparkle

Nglish: Translation of sparkle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sparkle for Arabic Speakers

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