twin·​kle | \ ˈtwiŋ-kəl How to pronounce twinkle (audio) \
twinkled; twinkling\ ˈtwiŋ-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce twinkle (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 twinkle (audio) \ noun


twinkly \ ˈtwiŋ-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce twinkle (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 Above our heads, thousands of Infrared Reflective (IR) markers — one-inch-by-one-inch silver squares that, essentially, create a map for these cameras — twinkle like a mini galaxy. Samantha Hissong, Rolling Stone, 21 Sep. 2021 Within the small space, notice a large Easter Island head in one corner, soft rainbow lights that twinkle, pufferfish wearing hats, hula girl lamps and plenty of Tiki sculptures. Patrick Connolly,, 4 July 2021 Those cases that offered a chance to twinkle were a fringe benefit., 13 June 2021 When the sun goes down over the warships and sailboats of California’s third-largest city, the lights twinkle on the hillsides of Tijuana. Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2021 The Instagram-friendly exhibition uses digital projection mapping software that animates the paintings of the popular 19th-century Dutch artist so that the images move and swirl around the walls, floors and ceilings and the stars twinkle. San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Apr. 2021 There’s an effervescence to the French way of gathering around food and drink, particularly as the sun sets and street lamps twinkle on, that foreigners have long traveled for—and, often, hoped to bring home. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, 6 Apr. 2021 Light-up mulberry trees seem to waft in the breeze, the artist himself appears after an animation of his name, and his signature tiny brush strokes and circular patterns twinkle and move across the sky that seems perfect for Van Gogh's style. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, 5 Mar. 2021 For the second renovation, the master bathroom was converted into a luxury spa with Cambria quartz surfaces that twinkle at night. Rohan Preston, Star Tribune, 19 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun TikTok lights are simply the logical step that comes after the millennial-loved twinkle lights. Michelle Santiago Cortés,, 7 Oct. 2021 Inside, the ceiling is decorated with red twinkle lights that cast a strange glow over the tiny space and its very limited seating. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, 16 Sep. 2021 Target and its peers have enjoyed being a destination for shoppers seeking the BTS merch, from backpacks to dorm room twinkle lights. Grace L. Williams, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 She was also thrilled to find an empty wine bottle emblazoned with a Cubs logo and filled with white twinkle lights. Susan Degrane,, 13 Sep. 2021 Some sports leagues dabbled in reality television long before Drive to Survive was a twinkle in a Formula 1 executive’s eye—the HBO docuseries Hard Knocks, which premiered in 2001, follows a different NFL team’s preseason training camp every year. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 7 Sep. 2021 And at least a half dozen streaming services weren’t even a twinkle in a studio executive’s eye yet, at that point. Andy Meek, BGR, 27 July 2021 Piaget—oftentimes the holder of the prize for the thinnest watch (a mechanical feat)—was a favorite of Jackie Kennedy and still holds true for a watch that is demure with a twinkle of glamour. Vogue, 8 Aug. 2021 Strong looked relieved to be back at Marie’s, underneath the colorful twinkle lights. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 17 July 2021

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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Time Traveler for twinkle

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

24 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Twinkle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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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
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on twinkle

Nglish: Translation of twinkle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of twinkle for Arabic Speakers


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