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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There’s a 12-foot-tall tree in the living room with gold, crystal and silver ornaments, some vintage and some new, and more than 2,000 twinkling lights. oregonlive, "Oregon families celebrate the holidays at home with well-loved traditions," 18 Dec. 2019 Ready to jump headlong into the seasonal frenzy and add a few hundred feet of twinkling lights to your already sparkling X-mas factor? Amy Drew Thompson,, "Gingerbread crawl, y’all! Pastry chefs spin up holiday wonders for all to enjoy," 11 Dec. 2019 Picture it: Under twinkling blue lights, employees decked out in red and greed work hard to make Christmas creations for those eagerly awaiting the holidays. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "If you love the holidays, this is the downtown Phoenix bar you have to visit this winter," 5 Dec. 2019 The walls are lined with other creations: a model town with twinkling lights, a mosque, a church. Arwa Damon And Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "A forgotten camp in Syria could be the birthplace of ISIS' revenge generation," 12 Sep. 2019 That glorious month when twinkling holiday lights make way for snow, gray skies and frigid temperatures. Mara Duckens, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Helping your child prepare for a successful new year," 4 Jan. 2018 Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle illuminates each night with more than 125,000 twinkling LED lights. Advertorial, Orange County Register, "December Disneyland Resort Reporter: Did You Know?," 2 Dec. 2019 Josef Horstmöller greets me at the end of the long, wooden bar, eyes twinkling, salt-and-pepper beard neatly groomed, and bow tie knotted meticulously beneath his chin. Christie Dietz, National Geographic, "Calling all foodies: Germany's 'white gold' season is in full swing," 14 May 2019 Plan a visit to take in the 50-foot Christmas tree, twinkling lights and holiday musical productions. Sophie Dodd,, "Calling All Christmas Lovers! You Can Visit These Real-Life Hallmark Movie Towns," 20 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun An old-school football type with an unbreakable resolve and a twinkle in his eyes. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Beloved Knightstown football coach Don Willard dies; he crafted his own 'Hoosiers' story," 14 Nov. 2019 Colors to choose from include red, green, yellow, blue, purple, cyan, white and multi-color, and light styles include multi-fade, multi-twinkle, multi-sparkle, blue-sparkle and red-sparkle. Hannah Chubb,, "This Alexa-Enabled Christmas Tree Is So 2019 — and It Keeps Selling out on Amazon," 14 Nov. 2019 For areas that need a more intense twinkle, reach for one of the five shades of the Beaming Light Loose Highlighter. Devon Abelman, Allure, "How Jaclyn Hill's New Highlighters Brought Her Light During Her Darkest Time," 14 Nov. 2019 Ornaments and stars are threaded with greenery and twinkle lights. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Not just stockings hung with care: Readers share how they decorate mantels for Christmas," 29 Nov. 2019 Way back when the presidency was just a twinkle in Trump's eye, the pair were already fighting for it. Stephen Collinson And Caitlin Hu, CNN, "Trump's test for Democrats -- Meanwhile in America," 9 Oct. 2019 Few things can brighten the mood of a home, yard, or office like a string of old-fashioned twinkle lights. Popular Science, "Twinkling lights to brighten up every space," 3 Jan. 2020 The story never finds its twinkle, but space is sublime. Ross Raihala, Twin Cities, "The third ‘Star Wars’ trilogy comes to a conclusion this week at the movies," 12 Dec. 2019 But when September rolled around and iPTF14hls crept out from behind the sun, there was its twinkle. Quanta Magazine, "‘Crazy’ Supernova Looks Like a New Kind of Star Death," 8 Nov. 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about twinkle

Time Traveler for twinkle

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for twinkle

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Twinkle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of probity?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!