\ˈsprīt \
plural sprites

Definition of sprite 

1a archaic : soul

b : a disembodied spirit : ghost

2a : elf, fairy

b : an elfish person

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

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 Join other young fairies in costume (or not) as the San Diego Botanic Garden fills with mythical little sprites flitting through the Eucalyptus Grove. Lisa Deaderick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Top weekend events: Vans Warped Tour, San Diego International Fringe Festival, 'Avenue Q'," 22 June 2018 Stir in the bourbon and mead, add ice, and finish with sprite. Cincinnati.com, "Keep it simple on Father's Day. Make dad this bourbon drink," 15 June 2018 The first tutu was worn in 1832 by the great dancer, Marie Taglioni, for her leading role in La Sylphide — a ballet about weightless, winged, air sprites. Rhonda Garelick, The Cut, "Carrie Bradshaw’s Tutu Paradox," 1 June 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 1a

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

16 Nov 2018

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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 \

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

Comments on sprite

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


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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