\ 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

These games featured striking art, huge sprites, and satisfying attacks. Michael Thompson, Ars Technica, "Drawn together: The love affair between comics and games," 24 Dec. 2018 Her shelves hold a Ghostbustery electromagnet-field reader, a perfectly round stone supposedly containing the spirit of an ancient sprite and a pair of wooden sculptures, one of Bigfoot, one of an upright canine. Christopher Borrelli, chicagotribune.com, "Do you have a werewolf problem? Upright alligator? Cryptozoologist Linda Godfrey probably believes you," 24 July 2019 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 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 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 Enter the serenely smiling Tully (Mackenzie Davis), a twentysomething sprite of a woman who arrives at the house each evening, takes firm hold of the baby and sends Marlo off to bed, waking her only for nighttime feedings. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis breathe the miracle of life into the dark motherhood story of 'Tully'," 3 May 2018 When my friends did arrive at the bakery, almost by accident, the menu was also drawn out by hand, and equally unreliable, since the owner-baker-sprite made some or all or none of the pastries depending on her mood. Frances Leech, Longreads, "Forgetting the Madeleine," 3 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

7 Sep 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

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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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