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[sin-tl-eyt] /ˈsɪn tlˌeɪt/
verb (used without object), scintillated, scintillating.
to emit sparks.
to sparkle; flash:
a mind that scintillates with brilliance.
to twinkle, as the stars.
Electronics. (of a spot of light or image on a radar display) to shift rapidly around a mean position.
  1. (of the amplitude, phase, or polarization of an electromagnetic wave) to fluctuate in a random manner.
  2. (of an energetic photon or particle) to produce a flash of light in a phosphor by striking it.
verb (used with object), scintillated, scintillating.
to emit as sparks; flash forth.
Origin of scintillate
First recorded in 1615-25, scintillate is from the Latin word scintillātus (past participle of scintillāre to send out sparks, flash). See scintilla, -ate1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for scintillate
Historical Examples
  • They did not scintillate, but rather glistened with a steady greenish lustre.

    The Scalp Hunters Mayne Reid
  • And they shone steadily: they did not scintillate, they were calmly glorious.

  • Whenever he writes of himself, his pen seems fairly to scintillate.

  • He may have been an excellent ostler, but did not scintillate as an officers' steward.

    Pincher Martin, O.D. H. Taprell Dorling
  • It should be well burnt, and should not scintillate or smoke.

    The Elements of Blowpipe Analysis Frederick Hutton Getman
  • He was on the defensive, and it was a position, as in all of his matches, in which he does not scintillate.

    News Writing M. Lyle Spencer
  • You only glimmer dully—your fingers do not sparkle and dazzle and scintillate as they did.

    Cobb's Anatomy Irvin S. Cobb
  • They do not scintillate nearly so much as he does, and they do not give that same uncomfortable feeling of internal strain.

  • Voltaire's tales are, in narrative form, criticisms of belief or opinion which scintillate with ironic wit.

  • The chief had never been addressed in this audacious fashion, and his eyes seemed to scintillate from under his scowling brows.

    Deerfoot in The Mountains Edward S. Ellis
British Dictionary definitions for scintillate


verb (mainly intransitive)
(also transitive) to give off (sparks); sparkle; twinkle
to be animated or brilliant
(physics) to give off flashes of light as a result of the impact of particles or photons
Derived Forms
scintillant, adjective
scintillantly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin scintillāre, from scintilla a spark
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for scintillate

1620s, from Latin scintillatus, past participle of scintillare "to sparkle, glitter, gleam, flash," from scintilla "spark" (see scintilla). Related: Scintillated; scintillating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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