twin·​kle | \ ˈtwiŋ-kəl How to pronounce twinkle (audio) \
twinkled; twinkling\ ˈtwiŋ-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce twinkling (audio) \

Definition of twinkle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to shine with a flickering or sparkling light : scintillate
2a : to appear bright especially with merriment his eyes twinkled
b : to flutter the eyelids
3 : to flutter or flit rapidly

transitive verb

1 : to cause to shine with fluctuating light
2 : to flicker or flirt rapidly twinkled the straight, red-lacquered toes— Glenway Wescott



Definition of twinkle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an intermittent radiance : flicker, sparkle
2 : a rapid flashing motion : flit
3 : a wink of the eyelids
4 : the instant's duration of a wink : twinkling

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Other Words from twinkle


twinkler \ ˈtwiŋ-​k(ə-​)lər How to pronounce twinkler (audio) \ noun


twinkly \ ˈtwiŋ-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce twinkly (audio) \ adjective

Examples of twinkle in a Sentence


The lights of the city twinkled in the distance. Stars twinkle in the night sky. Her eyes twinkled with excitement.


We saw the twinkle of a candle in the window. in just a twinkle, the shooting star was gone
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Above the guests, lights twinkled in strings from tree to tree. Adam Carlson,, "All the Photos and Details (and Olympic Guests!) from Skater Meryl Davis’ ‘Magical’ French Wedding," 29 June 2019 In the evening, spot a million twinkling stars and the Milky Way at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park. Kristi Valentini, Woman's Day, "These Summer Vacation Spots Are the Hidden Gems of the Midwest," 25 June 2019 As if huge, ancient subterranean caverns weren’t enough, many of them are covered in twinkling blue glowworms that shine like stars above you. Liz Carlson, Outside Online, "8 Can't-Miss New Zealand Adventures," 24 June 2019 The most memorable dishes, like the lobster boil and the picnic basket of fried chicken and sides, were served family style beneath twinkling lights at picnic tables. Howie Kahn, WSJ, "Eleven Madison Park Heads West," 5 Nov. 2018 This is a book to reassure us that whatever might be going on in the news, the seasons still come and go, whales swim silently through the seas and the stars still twinkle in their familiar constellations. Claire Cock-starkey, WSJ, "What to Give: Reference Books," 15 Nov. 2018 Starting with cocktails and Champagne, guests enjoyed a signature menu from renowned cook Sylvestre Wahid; on the tables, candles twinkled and illuminated the flower arrangements. Thomas Delage, Vogue, "Beauties in Brock Collection Gathered for a Meal to Celebrate the Brand's New Capsule Collection," 4 Mar. 2019 The artist portrayed it as having stars on its cheeks, twinkles in its eyes, and its tongue sticking out. Emily Wang, Teen Vogue, "Pete Davidson Got a Tattoo in Honor of His Pet Pig," 17 Sep. 2018 Everyone is familiar with the standard holiday home decorations, from twinkling lights to menorahs and Christmas trees. Megan Barber, Curbed, "How to decorate your RV for the holidays," 6 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Joe Reed has a twinkle in his eye as Tony, but also lets the audience see the weight on his mind and the pangs of regret. Matthew J. Palm,, "‘Outside Mullingar’: Mad Cow Theatre visits Irish countryside, with delightful results | Review," 26 June 2019 With its mismatched couches and the soft hum of live music coming from the backyard strung with twinkle lights, Salty Nut is the perfect place to recharge before heading back out on the trail., "24 Hours on the Downtown Huntsville Craft Beer Trail," 26 June 2019 Even those, especially those, with a twinkle in their sparkling blue eyes. Kirsten West Savali, Essence, "Op-ed: Joe Biden Is The White Moderate Dr. King Warned Us About," 19 June 2019 Golding has the posh British accent of Prince William, a Cary Grant-ian twinkle in his eye, and a dreaminess that is entirely his own. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "So, You've Fallen in Love with Crazy Rich Asians Star Henry Golding," 21 Aug. 2018 This was before social media was even a twinkle in someone’s eye. Vogue, "Laura Morgan, the Artist and Cult Model, Is Back on Fashion’s Radar," 27 Dec. 2018 Our region needed these fundamentals long before HQ2 was a twinkle in anyone’s eye, and would need them whether or not Amazon existed. Alex Baca, Vox, "I work in urban planning. Now Amazon’s coming to my city.," 20 Nov. 2018 The girls — lacking any self-awareness — spouted off hilarious, meme-worthy quotes during a time when social media was just a twinkle in the internet’s eye. Marie Lodi, The Cut, "I Think About This a Lot: Ally Hilfiger’s Burrito Breakdown on Rich Girls," 18 June 2018 Highlight the twinkle in your eye with Natasha Denona Super Glow Highlighter, a dynamic luminizer that delivers an effortless, pearlized shimmer. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What August's Scorpio Horoscope Means for You," 30 July 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for twinkle


Middle English, from Old English twinclian; akin to Middle High German zwinken to blink

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Statistics for twinkle

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for twinkle

The first known use of twinkle was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for twinkle



English Language Learners Definition of twinkle

: to shine with an unsteady light : to produce small flashes of light
of the eyes : to have a friendly or happy expression


twin·​kle | \ ˈtwiŋ-kəl How to pronounce twinkle (audio) \
twinkled; twinkling

Kids Definition of twinkle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to shine or cause to shine with a flickering or sparkling light Stars twinkle in the sky.
2 : to appear bright with amusement His eyes twinkled at the joke.
3 : to move or flutter rapidly



Kids Definition of twinkle (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : a very short time

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More from Merriam-Webster on twinkle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with twinkle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for twinkle

Spanish Central: Translation of twinkle

Nglish: Translation of twinkle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of twinkle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on twinkle

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


characterized by aphorism

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