\ ˈsprīt How to pronounce sprite (audio) \
plural sprites

Definition of sprite

1a : elf, fairy
b : an elfish person
2a : a disembodied spirit : ghost
b archaic : soul
3 : a form of electrical discharge that sometimes is emitted upwards from the top of a cumulonimbus cloud during a thunderstorm at the same time that lightning strikes downward and that usually appears as a red or reddish-orange flash of light Atmospheric scientist Walter Lyons and his colleagues … noticed unusual behavior in storms over the plains: They triggered huge numbers of "sprites"—ghostly red glows of excited nitrogen molecules often seen high above violent storms.— Robert Irion

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Examples of sprite in a Sentence

the child insisted that he'd seen a sprite hiding in the garden told hair-raising stories of sprites and spectral ships

Recent Examples on the Web

JONATHAN ADLER Camp is an elusive sprite, a shape shifter that means different things to different people. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "Behold the Campiest Rooms of All Time," 7 May 2019 As People points out, participating in the holiday play is a longstanding tradition in the royal family as evidenced by this photo of Prince Harry in red tights (!!), dressed up as something of a Christmas sprite for a production back in 1987. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "See the Adorable Photos of Prince Harry Starring in His Nativity Play," 11 Dec. 2018 Sardinians used to believe these domus de janas (fairy homes) were the dwellings of mythical sprites. Kyre Chenven, Condé Nast Traveler, "For Sardinia’s Wild Side, Head to Sulcis," 12 Oct. 2018 The graphics, while upgraded from NES-ish quality to SNES-ish quality, were still limited to mostly static sprites in battle scenes. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, "“Aren’t you a little too old for that?” Two decades of playing Pokémon," 2 Sep. 2018 The actress, then 24, was praised for her performance and received a Tony nomination for her role as a sprite in the production. Morgan Evans, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Timeline of Audrey Hepburn's Hollywood Love Stories," 16 June 2017 That's what one California girl, Sevia, did after the tooth-toting sprite forgot to make the traditional swap a couple of times in a row. Nesa Mangal, Good Housekeeping, "Girl Pens Hilarious Note to Tooth Fairy Reminding Her to Take Her Teeth," 10 Mar. 2016 Many emulators use overclocking and memory management tricks to remove the sprite flickering and/or slowdown that occurred on many classic games. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Better than reality: New emulation tech lags less than original consoles," 19 Apr. 2018 Known for its fluid animation, it's often cited as one of the best animated sprite games ever. Aurich Lawson, Ars Technica, "Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection," 29 May 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for sprite

Middle English sprit, from Anglo-French espriz, espirit spirit, sprite — more at spirit

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Statistics for sprite

Last Updated

18 May 2019

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Time Traveler for sprite

The first known use of sprite was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sprite



English Language Learners Definition of sprite

in stories : a small creature that has magical powers : an elf or fairy


\ ˈsprīt How to pronounce sprite (audio) \

Kids Definition of sprite

: elf, fairy

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More from Merriam-Webster on sprite

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sprite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sprite

Spanish Central: Translation of sprite

Nglish: Translation of sprite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sprite for Arabic Speakers

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