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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for scintillate
Historical Examples
  • Robert fairly started as Ellen began talking with a fire which seemed to make her scintillate before his eyes.

    The Portion of Labor Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • They did not scintillate, but rather glistened with a steady greenish lustre.

    The Scalp Hunters Mayne Reid
  • They do not scintillate nearly so much as he does, and they do not give that same uncomfortable feeling of internal strain.

  • You only glimmer dully—your fingers do not sparkle and dazzle and scintillate as they did.

    Cobb's Anatomy Irvin S. Cobb
  • And they shone steadily: they did not scintillate, they were calmly glorious.

  • The rays of the sun, striking on them, made them scintillate in the midst of the black wooden crosses.

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

  • The modern men look extremely comfortable and well at their ease; but they do not scintillate in the old style.

    Far Off Things Arthur Machen
  • It is hardly noticeable save for the stars α and β of third magnitude, which scintillate on its forehead.

    Astronomy for Amateurs Camille Flammarion
  • A silver moon, hovering midway in the eastern sky, began to scintillate with trembling lustre on the dreaming world below.

    The Hill of Venus Nathan Gallizier
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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