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

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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 Here were the biggest moments of the Super Bowl LIV halftime show, which was ultimately a high-energy, sparkling celebration of dance and Latin pop. Raisa Bruner, Time, "The Biggest Moments of the Super Bowl 2020 Halftime Show," 3 Feb. 2020 Champagne is the ideal that sparkling-wine producers outside the French region invoke to denote the gravitas of their own efforts. Lettie Teague, WSJ, "What Makes a Wine a Classic?," 30 Jan. 2020 Also adding to the glam, Cardi B sparkled in $5 million-worth of Gismondi 1754 diamond necklaces, while Camila Cabello chose a $2 million Le Vian collar necklace. Laurie Brookins, The Hollywood Reporter, "Ariana Grande, Lizzo, Priyanka Chopra, Heidi Klum Dazzle in $16M of Lorraine Schwartz Jewels at Grammys," 27 Jan. 2020 The evening's big winner also sparkled in de Grisogono jewels and Colette rings. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "See Rihanna's Chic, All-Black Ensemble at Fenty Afterparty in London," 3 Dec. 2019 Jonas also sparkled in a strapless navy sequined dress with an ultra-high leg slit and Ruthie Davis heels. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sophie Turner, Priyanka Chopra, and Danielle Jonas Had a Blast at the Billboard Music Awards," 2 May 2019 This shade will especially sparkle in the sunshine, as seen here with Emma Roberts. Kathleen Hou, The Cut, "The Best Spring Hair-Color Ideas," 7 Mar. 2018 Lemon for acid, orange blossom water, sparkling cava and some italicus — a liquor with the flavor of bergamot fruit — combine wonderfully for a sparkling citrus punch that makes for a fun sipper. Jess Fleming, Twin Cities, "Our picks: best cocktails of 2019," 25 Dec. 2019 One play later, with the Philly faithful still abuzz, Simmons tossed down an alley-oop -- an exclamation point on his sparkling show. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers attempt to feature Kevin Love early, still get crushed by Philadelphia 76ers 141-94," 8 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When the confetti cannons shot their sparkle into the sky, the 49ers trudged off the field. Ann Killion,, "49ers’ Super Bowl collapse vs. Chiefs won’t fall squarely on Kyle Shanahan," 2 Feb. 2020 This is the place where the pixie dust loses its sparkle. Chabeli Herrera,, "In a theme park parking lot at night, a worker sleeps in her car. This is life in America’s most visited city," 5 Dec. 2019 Arami’s Ivory Butter is made with natural, authentic and toxin-free ingredients, to help our skin sparkle throughout the holiday season. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "5 Holiday Beauty Items We're Loving Right Now, And You Will Too," 28 Nov. 2019 Losing its sparkle Botswana’s democratic credentials are increasingly coming into question. James Kirby, Quartz Africa, "The story behind Botswana’s closest-ever election and how its consequences will play out," 26 Oct. 2019 Others take a cue from jewelry and get their sparkle from tiny crystals or pearls. Glamour, "30 Minimalist Nail Art Ideas That Are Anything but Boring," 1 Oct. 2019 The sun beams, the crystalline water sparkles, and a group of Goop staffers sit cross-legged in a circle, like schoolchildren poised for a read-aloud. Arielle Pardes, Wired, "Sure, The Goop Lab Is Absurd—but It Also Offers Hope," 24 Jan. 2020 Meanwhile, nude hues were upgraded with some sparkle, as seen on Jennifer Lopez and Joey King. Marci Robin, Allure, "The Best Celebrity Manicures From the 2020 SAG Awards," 20 Jan. 2020 The sparkles are like a moth to a flame: people can’t help but comment on the shoes. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Men In Heels? I Put the Tricky Trend to the Test," 26 Feb. 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.

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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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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

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sparkle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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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

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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

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