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

The deceased are depicted on red carpets, surrounded by stars, or nestled among twinkling diamonds, or ensconced among pink roses and doves. Mckenna Oxenden,, "Meet the Baltimore woman who designed a comic book-themed program for 4-year-old Malachi Lawson’s funeral," 23 Aug. 2019 When the stars seem to twinkle like crazy, that’s a a tip-off of poor viewing conditions. Arnold Pearlstein,, "The Stars This Week: July 7 - 13," 7 July 2019 Continue to Sequoia National Park, where low light pollution and high altitudes make for some of the best stargazing in the U.S. Here, an astronomy expert will help us spot far-off planets and twinkling constellations. Jonathan Irish, National Geographic, "10 Dazzling Celestial Displays—and Where to See Them," 8 Apr. 2019 While fairly staid in layout, the show comes alive in the penultimate gallery, a room done up in intergalactic style with twinkling LED lights and a Saturn-like halo installation. Charlene K. Lau, The Atlantic, "How Pierre Cardin’s Futuristic Fashion Infiltrated Everyday Life," 28 July 2019 Some of the twinkling stars that spangle Earth’s skies are relics from the earliest beginnings of the Milky Way galaxy, astronomers have discovered. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "Found: Oldest known stars in our galaxy," 22 July 2019 Nighttime drives ornamented by fireflies twinkling in the darkness., "This top cop ripped apart a Michigan town," 17 July 2019 In the lobby, chandeliers twinkle for the guests who will soon be heading out to a pool cabana. Natalie B. Compton, WIRED, "Inside the Bulletproof Coffee Guy’s New Body-Hacking Gym," 10 July 2019 Handy tip: Use an app to pinpoint the constellations twinkling above. Kari Barnett,, "SummerTimeOut: Catch a sunset – and some fish - at the Boynton Beach Inlet," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Expect mismatched Christmas decor — tacky balls and bows, lights, garland, plastic blow molds, tinsel and twinkle, and even homemade coffee filter snowflakes. Jess Fleming, Twin Cities, "Betty Danger’s Country Club will become Christmas Palace again," 30 Aug. 2019 Gently singing Twinkle, twinkle, little star may lull a baby to sleep, but beyond the confines of Earth’s atmosphere, the words aren’t exactly accurate. Catherine Zuckerman, National Geographic, "Everything you wanted to know about stars," 20 Mar. 2019 Bright, funny, warm, Peter was a movie star with a twinkle in his eyes. Sandra Gonzalez, CNN, "Hollywood remembers 'sweet-hearted' Peter Fonda," 16 Aug. 2019 Regardless of your age, glitter is one beauty product that will make your hair, nails, and skin twinkle like little stars. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "9 Hair and Body Glitters For The Perfect Glow Job," 19 June 2019 Before Walt Disney was even a twinkle in his father’s eye, Silver Springs was offering Florida natives and visitors one of the first — and now oldest — attractions in the state. Patrick Connolly,, "Florida Springs Guide: Silver Springs State Park," 22 July 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

2 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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