1 : to emit sparks : spark
2 : to emit quick flashes as if throwing off sparks : sparkle
3 : to throw off as a spark or as sparkling flashes
Did You Know?
The history of scintillate begins with Latin scintilla, which means "spark." Scintilla, in turn, sparked the development of the verb scintillare, meaning "to sparkle." Scintillate is the English version of scintillare. Though it sometimes means literally "to sparkle," it more often means "to sparkle" in a figurative sense—that is, to be lively, or to perform brilliantly. Scintillate is not the only word we get from scintilla. There is also scintilla itself (used as a noun meaning "a little bit"), scintillant (an adjective describing something that scintillates), and scintillation (which, among other things, means "a brilliant outburst").
The critics praised Doreen's performance in the play, declaring that she took a rather mundane script and made it scintillate with wit and excitement.
"Stephen Strasburg scintillated with seven scoreless innings in which he allowed two hits with three walks and six strikeouts over 105 pitches." — Mike Puma, The New York Post, 4 July 2017
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