twin·​kle | \ˈtwiŋ-kəl \
twinkled; twinkling\ˈtwiŋ-​k(ə-​)liŋ \

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 \ noun


twinkly \ˈtwiŋ-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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

Other inspiring evening hair cues came from Carrozzini’s twinkling vintage slide capturing her loose bun, and Emma Weymouth’s fresh white roses to match her Dolce & Gabbana. Vogue, "Claire Foy, Idris Elba, Anna Wintour, Sophie Okonedo, Ralph Fiennes, and the Cast of Hamilton Fete the 64th Evening Standard Theatre Awards," 19 Nov. 2018 Just imagine it for a moment: the sound of the crackling fire, the sight of snow flurries waltzing behind the window, the taste of warm eggnog, and the coziness of your family sitting beside your twinkling leg lamp. Diana Bruk, Country Living, "You Can Now Stay Overnight in the 'Christmas Story' House," 14 Aug. 2018 The Museum of Modern Art hosted the premiere, with lights twinkling in the courtyard as guests were ushered into the screening. Kate Klausner, Vogue, "Hugh Jackman Trades Wolverine for Politics at Last Night’s Premiere of The Front Runner," 31 Oct. 2018 Hals creates a lively scene of merry faces, twinkling eyes, and dynamic hand gestures that signal family interactions. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "‘Frans Hals Portraits: A Family Reunion’ Review: Piecing Together the Van Campen Clan," 20 Oct. 2018 The sky changes throughout the day, and rivers twinkle as the sun sets. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "How To Get Into the High-Powered World of Gaming PCs," 20 Sep. 2018 Both of them buzzed with a tangible excitement, glitter twinkling on their cheekbones and eyelids. Ludmila Leiva, Allure, "Meet Fluide, the Makeup Brand That Believes in the Power of Inclusion — Not Tokenism," 10 Sep. 2018 Then things she'd only seen in movies: twinkling skyscrapers with vast crowds walking between them like ants. Todd Pitman, Fox News, "6 Years Gone: Myanmar woman escapes brutal China captivity," 6 Sep. 2018 Beneath twinkling crystal stars and a projection of clouds crossing the sky, watch Disney’s Aladdin come to life on stage September 12 through 23. Allison Weiss Entrekin, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Atlanta in September 2018," 5 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Rihanna has been hosting the (almost) annual Diamond Ball, an event that benefits the Clara Lionel Foundation, since 2014 — long before Fenty Beauty was even a twinkle in the icon's eye. Marci Robin, Allure, "Rihanna Wore Fenty Beauty's New Diamond Bomb to the Diamond Ball, Of Course," 14 Sep. 2018 The warm twinkle of fairy lights around town, the vacation days, and, of course, the extra family time make some people feel all of the joy. Mattie Quinn, SELF, "10 Tips for Dealing With Family Estrangement During the Holidays," 21 Nov. 2018 String the twinkle lights through the holes and hide the extra wires in the box before replacing the back of the letter to close it up. Sarah Newell, Seventeen, "10 DIY Dorm Decor Hacks That Even Lazy Girls Can Do," 19 June 2017 Together, the collection of twinkle lights strung from the dorm’s celling, the assortment of artwork on the walls (everything from woven tapestries to various vinyl records), and warm vintage hues work jointly to make this room one stunning space. Katelyn Chef, Teen Vogue, "Mississippi College Dorm Decor," 11 Sep. 2018 The former is a pot-dealing ne’er-do-well who’s just been kicked out of his retirement community (but whose claim to be dying is belied by the twinkle in his eye). Michael O’sullivan, kansascity, "‘Boundaries’: Pot-dealing Christopher Plummer plus adorable dogs equals fun road movie," 5 July 2018 The former is a pot-dealing ne'er-do-well who's just been kicked out of his retirement community (but whose claim to be dying is belied by the twinkle in his eye). Michael O'sullivan,, "'Boundaries' review: A family road trip to reconciliation and maybe, understanding," 28 June 2018 There was even talk during his days as a twinkle-toed prospect of calling him up to Spain’s Under-21 team. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Russian Soccer’s Foreign Agent," 24 June 2018 Just look to these nine stars as metallic makeup inspiration, from shimmering sapphire, dusky bronze, and every twinkle and glimmer in between. Hannah Morrill, Allure, "9 Metallic Makeup Looks You’ll Want to Try Now," 23 Feb. 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

9 Dec 2018

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


twin·​kle | \ˈtwiŋ-kəl \
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

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