spright·​ly | \ ˈsprīt-lē How to pronounce sprightly (audio) \
sprightlier; sprightliest

Definition of sprightly

1 : marked by a gay lightness and vivacity : spirited a sprightly musical
2 : having a distinctively piquant taste : zesty a sprightly salsa

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Other Words from sprightly

sprightliness noun
sprightly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for sprightly

lively, animated, vivacious, sprightly, gay mean keenly alive and spirited. lively suggests briskness, alertness, or energy. a lively debate on the issues animated applies to what is spirited and active. an animated discussion of current events vivacious suggests an activeness of gesture and wit, often playful or alluring. a vivacious party host sprightly suggests lightness and spirited vigor of manner or wit. a tuneful, sprightly musical gay stresses complete freedom from care and overflowing spirits. the gay spirit of Paris in the 1920s

Did You Know?

Sprightly comes from spright, an archaic version of the word we now use for an elf or fairy: sprite. Ariel from Shakespeare's The Tempest and the leprechaun of Irish mythology are often referred to as sprites, and it's no coincidence that both are characterized by their light, flitting movements and mannerisms. Sprite derives via Middle English and Old French from the Latin spiritus, which of course gives us spirit as well. A similar-looking adjective that can describe someone who is nimble and energetic is spry, but that word is believed to be of Scandinavian origin.

Examples of sprightly in a Sentence

a sprightly child who often claims to be too tired to move when it's time to do chores
Recent Examples on the Web Sam Caughron, a sprightly 17-year-old member of Waterloo’s Youth City Council, had a busier-than-usual Saturday. Abby Vesoulis/cedar Falls, Time, "Amy Klobuchar Distances Herself From Her Progressive Rivals, Emphasizes Kitchen Table Issues in Closing Iowa Pitch," 2 Feb. 2020 Yes, our sprightly magazine has just turned a youthful 90 years old. Clifton Leaf, Fortune, "The big ambitions behind Fortune’s 90th anniversary redesign," 20 Jan. 2020 Its compound of the hearty and the sprightly was an embarrassment. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Intoxicating History of Gin," 2 Dec. 2019 As players have gotten increasingly better at younger ages with improved development programs around baseball — and teams have leaned more and more on that cheaper, more sprightly talent — Torres has been one of the best. James Wagner, New York Times, "Gleyber Torres Has Been Preparing for This Since December," 8 Oct. 2019 My great values for 2019 ranged from $9 for the sprightly La Salette 2018 Cotes de Gascogne, and Le Petit Balthazar rosé, both from France, to $47 for the Charles Orban Brut Rosé Champagne, a stellar bubbly for Valentine’s Day. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, "The 12 best bargain wines of the year will set you back as little as $10. How can you resist?," 20 Dec. 2019 Last evening was no exception: the model wore a form-fitting dress by House of CB that was covered in a sprightly floral print (and is quite affordable at $209). Vogue, "Ashley Graham Pulls Off Her Boldest Maternity Look Yet," 10 Dec. 2019 Or her sprightly name, more suitable to a field hockey roster. Karen Heller, Washington Post, "Sally Field’s relentless request for respect: ‘The roles I cared about deeply I had to fight for’," 4 Dec. 2019 The lush disco-house track conjures cheer and cheesy smiles with its sprightly groove and twinkling, arpeggiated synths. Kat Bein, Billboard, "First Spin: The Week's Best New Dance Tracks From Galantis With Dolly Parton & More," 25 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sprightly.' 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 sprightly

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sprightly

obsolete spright (sprite), alteration of sprite

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Time Traveler for sprightly

Time Traveler

The first known use of sprightly was in 1592

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Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sprightly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sprightly. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for sprightly


How to pronounce sprightly (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sprightly

: full of life and energy


spright·​ly | \ ˈsprīt-lē How to pronounce sprightly (audio) \
sprightlier; sprightliest

Kids Definition of sprightly

: full of spirit : lively

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More from Merriam-Webster on sprightly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sprightly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sprightly

Spanish Central: Translation of sprightly

Nglish: Translation of sprightly for Spanish Speakers

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