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

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 William 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 the origin of that word is not known.

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 Yet his sprightly, far-reaching book was completed too late to make much room for Wordle, the puzzle phenomenon that went viral in late 2021. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 The 2019 Elvis Presley California Red Blend was marginally more drinkable, and both the 2020 Vina Baccana Pinot Grigio from Friuli and the 2020 Abbesse de Loire Sauvignon Blanc from France were attractively sprightly. Lettie Teague, WSJ, 9 Dec. 2021 The Finest Hours, the more new-fangled (and Best Picture-nominated) topical western Hell or High Water, and the sprightly sci-fi sequel Star Trek Beyond all out in a single year. Jesse Hassenger, The Week, 8 Apr. 2022 Ricotta was combined with black truffles along with São Jorge cheese tortellini in a sprightly, refreshing lemon-dashi cacio e peperendition. John Mariani, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 The sprightly, 70-minute LCT3 production, directed with wit by Jenna Worsham, gives us both of those elements right away. New York Times, 21 Mar. 2022 Katie Spelman’s choreography and Emilio Sosa’s costumes harmonize with the dexterity of the storytelling, and music director Christopher Youstra and his seven-member orchestra deftly handle Doug Besterman’s sprightly orchestrations. Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2022 Cross co-wrote the sprightly film song (which won an Oscar) with Peter Allen, Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. Paul Grein, Billboard, 30 Dec. 2021 First-time filmmaker Mimi Cave’s movie isn’t for the squeamish—gore abounds—though the savage doings onscreen have a sprightly air. Vogue, 28 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of sprightly was in 1592

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Last Updated

8 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sprightly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sprightly. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for sprightly


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

Kids Definition of sprightly

: full of spirit : lively

More from Merriam-Webster on sprightly

Nglish: Translation of sprightly for Spanish Speakers


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