\ 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 The young attarwallah, perhaps relieved to see a friendly face in this tough crowd, was upon me like a sprite. New York Times, "The Fragrances That Changed the Field," 10 May 2021 Charlotte says Mary Ann is more like a neighborhood sprite. BostonGlobe.com, "The girl in the Kent State photo and the lifelong burden of being a national symbol," 20 Apr. 2021 Charlotte says Mary Ann is more like a neighborhood sprite. BostonGlobe.com, "The girl in the Kent State photo and the lifelong burden of being a national symbol," 20 Apr. 2021 Charlotte says Mary Ann is more like a neighborhood sprite. Patricia Mccormick, Washington Post, "The Girl in the Kent State Photo," 19 Apr. 2021 Under this gesturing, growling, fiery sprite of a dude, the team is sturdier, more focused, playing harder, playing smarter. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, "Column: For resilient Bruins, a magical victory on John R. Wooden Drive," 19 Mar. 2021 In the 1987 reiteration of the franchise, the player’s race became undeniable as the game shifted away from grayscale to a multicolored sprite program. Rico Norwood, Wired, "Coding Blackness: A History of Black Video Game Characters," 26 Feb. 2021 Legendary actor Robert Morse voices Jack Frost in this movie, a winter sprite who can live forever but falls in love with a human girl named Elisa. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "11 Claymation Christmas Movies That Will Remind You of Your Childhood," 1 Dec. 2020 Suddenly, Charles’ attention is caught by a young woman dressed as a wood sprite, hiding behind a large vase. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "How Accurate Is The Crown’s Portrayal Of Prince Charles & Princess Diana’s First Meeting?," 15 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for sprite

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sprite

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sprite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sprite. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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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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