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

Verb The lights of the city twinkled in the distance. Stars twinkle in the night sky. Her eyes twinkled with excitement. Noun 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 Thousands of twinkling lanterns will be released into the San Jacinto River during a unique water lantern festival set for this weekend at Magnolia Garden Park in northeast Houston. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "A magical water lantern festival is headed for Houston this weekend," 17 Oct. 2019 This series does not skimp on design either, coming in four color options: Black, Sapphire Secret Blue, Apsen Gleam Yellow and Gradient Energy, a twinkling gradient from pink to green. Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored, "Protect your new Pixel 4 with one of these tough cases," 16 Oct. 2019 Head out on evening photo shoots and experiment with light as the sun sets on the numerous alpine lakes hidden around the Sierra, or point your lens skyward to snap photos of the twinkling stars in the night sky. National Geographic, "Yosemite and San Francisco Photography Workshop," 10 Sep. 2019 Step inside local businesses to partake in the Chili Crawl, and delight in the evening parade featuring floats and vehicles that twinkle brightly with lights of the season. Nancy Ngo, Twin Cities, "These festivals, ongoing exhibits and community activities offer months of entertainment," 14 Sep. 2019 The women strutted and danced as their dresses billowed in the evening air and paillettes twinkled in the spotlights. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "How one Sunday night at Fashion Week re-defined the stories that clothes can tell," 9 Sep. 2019 Next, head to the port to soak in the city’s impressive coastal landscape, dominated to the north by the Montes de Málaga, a green-and-dun massif that twinkles with white haciendas and flashes of purple bougainvillea. Stephen Connolly, National Geographic, "Beyond Barcelona: A weekend on Málaga’s magical coast," 6 Aug. 2019 The deceased are depicted on red carpets, surrounded by stars, nestled among twinkling diamonds, or ensconced among pink roses and doves. Washington Post, "Meet the Baltimore woman who designed a comic-book-themed funeral program," 26 Aug. 2019 Projections by Aaron Rhyne suggest twinkling stars and sometimes slithering snakes. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "A fairy-tale world premiere and Janácek's brutal but redemptive 'Jenufa' impress at Santa Fe Opera," 6 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This event is outside, on the lawn, and under the twinkle lights. Elizabeth Montgomery, azcentral, "Stories of food, family at open-air November Storytellers event," 1 Nov. 2019 Red and white checkered tables are tucked inside and around these structures, with twinkle lights strung around the beams and on the ceiling accentuating the candlelit ambiance. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "Das ist gut! Gasthaus serves up 100% authentic German deliciousness in Louisville," 16 Oct. 2019 Enjoy it under the canopy of wisteria and twinkle lights on an evening at The Garage. Birmingham Magazine, al, "Birmingham City Bite: The Garage’s Fritz Sandwich," 26 Sep. 2019 Bright, funny, warm, Peter was a movie star with a twinkle in his eyes. Helen Murphy,, "Kate Hudson, Ava Duvernay & More Celebs Mourn Peter Fonda's Death: 'There Will Never Be Another'," 17 Aug. 2019 Charming, kind, and cheerful, she was equipped with a high-wattage smile — and those big, gorgeous eyes — that could outshine the famous twinkle of her more famous brother, this magazine’s founder. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 22 Aug. 2019 Khodorkovsky is a charismatic subject with a still-mischievous twinkle in his eye even after serving ten years in a Siberian prison, making him a marvelously ambiguous antihero for documentary treatment. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Citizen K': Film Review | Venice 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 Sony did make a spectacular live-action Spider-Man, years before the grand Marvel Cinematic Universe was even a twinkle in Kevin Feige’s eye. Adam Epstein, Quartzy, "The two best Spider-Man movies were made without Disney’s involvement," 21 Aug. 2019 Bright, funny, warm, Peter was a movie star with a twinkle in his eyes. Helen Murphy,, "Kate Hudson, Ava Duvernay & More Celebs Mourn Peter Fonda's Death: 'There Will Never Be Another'," 17 Aug. 2019

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

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for twinkle

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

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More Definitions for twinkle


How to pronounce twinkle (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for twinkle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with twinkle

Spanish Central: Translation of twinkle

Nglish: Translation of twinkle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of twinkle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on twinkle

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a calculated move

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