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scintillate

[sin-tl-eyt]
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verb (used without object), scin·til·lat·ed, scin·til·lat·ing.
  1. to emit sparks.
  2. to sparkle; flash: a mind that scintillates with brilliance.
  3. to twinkle, as the stars.
  4. Electronics. (of a spot of light or image on a radar display) to shift rapidly around a mean position.
  5. Physics.
    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), scin·til·lat·ed, scin·til·lat·ing.
  1. 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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


British Dictionary definitions for scintillate

scintillate

verb (mainly intr)
  1. (also tr) to give off (sparks); sparkle; twinkle
  2. to be animated or brilliant
  3. physics to give off flashes of light as a result of the impact of particles or photons
Derived Formsscintillant, adjectivescintillantly, 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

Word Origin and History for scintillate

v.

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