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

Other Words from sparkle


sparkly \ ˈspär-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce sparkly (audio) \ 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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But around town, his drug store soon became just as famous for its cold, sparkling soda water, which Payne sold for a nickel a glass. Bob Carlton |, al, "150 years of memories at Alabama’s oldest soda fountain," 23 Aug. 2019 Basking in the shimmering shadows of snowcapped mountains and sparkling waterways, Vancouver, Canada, beckons to visitors—and their wallets. Fortune, "Vancouver Is a Haven for Cheap but Delicious Tasting Menus," 18 Aug. 2019 Rather than resenting the upstart, the great and the good embraced him, awed by his knowledge of arcane subjects such as finance, dazzled by the bright light of his intellect and by his sparkling prose. The Economist, "A new biography of Walter Bagehot, “the greatest Victorian”," 8 Aug. 2019 Features such as a shapely mouth, sparkling eyes, and lush hair are widely appreciated as attractive. Bill Sullivan, National Geographic, "Why we like what we like: A scientist’s surprising findings," 6 Aug. 2019 Made from 100 percent mourvedre rather than the mainstream Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, this sparkling pink carries a bit more heft, zero sweetness and the ability to play nice with most summertime eats. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "12 Arizona wines to sip by the pool this summer," 1 Aug. 2019 Even those, especially those, with a twinkle in their sparkling blue eyes. Kirsten West Savali, Essence, "Op-ed: Joe Biden Is The White Moderate Dr. King Warned Us About," 19 June 2019 Tom's infectious laugh, sparkling green eyes, and generous spirit will be remembered fondly by all., "Thomas Michael Burke," 10 June 2019 Have celebrity makeup artists like Pati Dubroff and Fiona Stiles — who created recent sparkling looks for Margot Robbie and Katherine Langford, respectively — tapped into some newfangled form of glitter that magically stays put? Erika Stalder,, "The Hollywood Makeup Trend We Did Not See Coming," 20 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Venice has regained much of its lost movie-star sparkle in recent years. Michael Phillips,, "Venice Film Festival preview: Can ‘Joker,’ Brad Pitt, Scarlett Johansson and ‘Birth of a Nation’'s Nate Parker continue the festival’s hot streak?," 22 Aug. 2019 Using Las Vegas as your test site, here are tips the pros say will make your Insta feeds sparkle. Jay Jones, Los Angeles Times, "Why Nevada is the No. 1 selfie state, and how to make yours stand out," 7 Aug. 2019 The tiara’s centerpiece features detachable diamond; Queen Mary often placed sapphires there for some blue sparkle. Meagan Fredette,, "Meghan Markle Got Her Tiara From Queen Elizabeth's Private Collection," 19 May 2018 Add the full-throated roar of weird Karen Russell, plus the deft sparkle of Denis Johnson and all of the gesturing and spooky direction of Carmen Maria Machado. Los Angeles Times, "Review: In ‘Black Light: Stories,’ Kimberly King Parsons serves up a big and wild Texas," 16 Aug. 2019 The stage quiets, and NKOTB re-emerge in sleek black suits accented with just the tiniest amount of sparkle. Rebecca Schuman, Longreads, "I’ll Be Loving You Forever," 14 Aug. 2019 Some companies have started creating a biodegradable form of sparkle, BoF pointed out. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Companies Created Environmentally Friendly Biodegradable Glitter," 1 Aug. 2019 Arsenal fans had hoped that Denis Suarez would add some sparkle to their midfield, though his time in north London was ravaged by injury., "Barcelona Loan Players: How They Got on Away From Camp Nou During the 2018/19 Season," 15 June 2019 Your right hand man Steve might get shot in the belly button & sparkle burns all over his left side (Steve is okay, but still) — Brantley Gilbert (@brantleygilbert) July 4, 2019 Happy 4th of July America!!! Mitchell Peters, Billboard, "Mariah Carey, Kid Cudi, Christina Aguilera & More Celebrate Fourth of July on Social Media," 4 July 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

Statistics for sparkle

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sparkle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


recurring in steady succession

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!