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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for sparkle

Synonyms: Verb

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

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These are the other teams that sparkled in the past 50 years. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: Milwaukee Bucks bulldoze Bullets for first NBA championship," 19 May 2020 In recent years, there’s been no brand that sparkles brighter (literally) than Area. Cady Lang, Time, "10 Designers You Should Watch at New York Fashion Week," 4 Feb. 2020 Britain, experts said, is likely to grow in line with the rest of Europe over the next several years — a growth rate that is hardly sparkling but likely to be a shade higher than those of Germany or France. Mark Landler,, "Divorce complete, Britain faces next test: What if Brexit works?," 1 Feb. 2020 Use brightly colored planets and decorations that sparkle like the stars. Jennifer Boehm,, "Fun things to do with the kids this weekend: festivals, Halloween, cupcakes," 15 Oct. 2019 Inside the hallowed halls of the New York Stock Exchange is brilliant yellow diamond that once sparkled like the twinkling rays of the sun. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "There’s a New Blackest Black in Town," 18 Sep. 2019 As Howard battled foul trouble and ineffectiveness and Harden endured a hideous shooting night, the Blazers’ stalwarts sparkled. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Trail Blazers Classics: LaMarcus Aldridge’s record-setting night lifts Portland over Houston Rockets in Game 1 of playoffs," 12 May 2020 Proficient plotting can also be seen (and, more importantly, felt) as bland programming, leading to a series of films that often boast sparkling continuity at the expense of thrilling imagination. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, "Our critics take another look at ‘The Avengers’ in the #UltimateSummerMovie Showdown," 5 May 2020 The sun will be shining bright and Churchill Downs will be sparkling. Kathryn Gregory, The Courier-Journal, "Celebrate Derby Day at home with The Courier Journal's virtual 146th Kentucky Derby," 25 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There was no absence of sparkle on the stage, from Jordan Roth’s beaded, sparkling leopard print cape to Paris Hilton’s nude bodysuit adorned with crystals. Washington Post, "The Blonds go over-the-top with the help of ‘Moulin Rouge’," 12 Sep. 2019 Once the eggs are dry, use some gold or silver paint pens to add some sparkle. Los Angeles Times, "How to dye Easter eggs with stuff you already have in your pantry or fridge," 10 Apr. 2020 Carson Downing Create a totally decked out Easter egg by attaching candy gems, such as Assorted Edible Jewels, $14.99, Etsy, to a cookie covered in sparkles. While the iced cookies are still wet, sprinkle on edible metallic glitter. Bh&g Holiday Editors, Better Homes & Gardens, "6 Stunning Easter Cookie Decorating Ideas You Need to Try This Weekend," 7 Apr. 2020 Instead, follow the sparkle of crystal to Zion Rock & Gem, and choose a geode. National Geographic, "Here’s the best winter road trip through Utah," 23 Jan. 2020 For those who want to take in the sparkle and fun of the floats, free parking is available in shopping centers along the parade route. Carissa D. Lamkahouan, Houston Chronicle, "Northern Brazoria County brimming with holiday events," 27 Nov. 2019 Glass artist Annukka Ritalahti will add sparkle to your holidays with glass snowflakes and bevel stars., "Community News For The Farmington Valley Edition," 22 Nov. 2019 And damn does that thing have some serious sparkle. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Princess Diana Looks Like an Actual Disney Princess in This Unearthed Video from Her Wedding Day," 9 Feb. 2020 The Gill-Wampler residence in Southeast Portland is an architectural gem that receives extra sparkle in December. oregonlive, "Historic Southeast Portland gem of a house sparkles with holiday decorations," 4 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sparkle

Time Traveler for sparkle

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for sparkle

Last Updated

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sparkle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sparkle


How to pronounce sparkle (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on sparkle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sparkle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sparkle

Spanish Central: Translation of sparkle

Nglish: Translation of sparkle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sparkle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sparkle

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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