adjective spright·ly \ ˈsprīt-lē \
|Updated on: 1 Jul 2018

Definition of sprightly

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





sprightly was our Word of the Day on 03/04/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of sprightly in a Sentence

  1. a sprightly child who often claims to be too tired to move when it's time to do chores

Recent Examples of sprightly from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of sprightly

obsolete spright (sprite), alteration of sprite

Synonym Discussion of 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

SPRIGHTLY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of sprightly for English Language Learners

  • : full of life and energy

SPRIGHTLY Defined for Kids


adjective spright·ly \ ˈsprīt-lē \

Definition of sprightly for Students

sprightlier; sprightliest
: full of spirit : lively

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


a downward inclination or slope

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a-pile-of-three-dimensional-shapes-in-green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

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!