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[sin-tl-ey-shuh n] /ˌsɪn tlˈeɪ ʃən/
the act of scintillating; sparkling.
a spark or flash.
Astronomy. the twinkling or tremulous effect of the light of the stars.
Meteorology. any small-scale twinkling or shimmering of objects that are viewed through the atmosphere, caused by an interception of the observer's line of view by inhomogeneities in the atmospheric refractive index.
  1. a flash of light from the ionization of a phosphor struck by an energetic photon or particle.
  2. random fluctuation of the amplitude, phase, or polarization of an electromagnetic wave.
(on a radar display) a slight, rapid shifting of a spot of light or the image of an object about its mean position.
Origin of scintillation
First recorded in 1615-25, scintillation is from the Latin word scintillātiōn- (stem of scintillātiō). See scintillate, -ion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for scintillation
Historical Examples
  • The supple, well-trained horses lose the scintillation on their coats, while Uncle Sam's blue is growing mauve very rapidly.

    Crooked Trails Frederic Remington
  • “To save you,” said the hermit, with a scintillation of his half-pitiful smile.

    Blown to Bits R.M. Ballantyne
  • "No," said Aurora, with a scintillation of irrepressible mischief in her eyes.

    The Grandissimes George Washington Cable
  • If brains were radium, you couldn't make a flicker on a scintillation counter.

    Pagan Passions Gordon Randall Garrett
  • "La bourse" she repeated, softly smiling, but with a scintillation of the eyes in resentment of his scrutiny.

    The Grandissimes George Washington Cable
  • So long as we can get a scintillation of their meaning we must be satisfied.

    Flowers of Freethought George W. Foote
  • Miriam retorted with the first scintillation of gaiety she had shown on this occasion.

    The Tragic Muse Henry James
  • Every kind of scintillation flashed from the gem-incrusted dishes.

    Salammbo Gustave Flaubert
  • He had observed, on the contrary, that nine times in ten the scintillation of stars was an augury of fine weather.

    The Red Lily, Complete Anatole France
  • "To save you" said the hermit, with a scintillation of his half-pitiful smile.

    Blown to Bits Robert Michael Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for scintillation


the act of scintillating
a spark or flash
the twinkling of stars or radio sources, caused by rapid changes in the density of the earth's atmosphere, the interplanetary medium, or the interstellar medium, producing uneven refraction of starlight
(physics) a flash of light produced when a material scintillates
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 scintillation

1620s, from Latin scintilationem (nominative scintillatio), noun of action from past participle stem of scintillare (see scintillate).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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scintillation in Medicine

scintillation scin·til·la·tion (sĭn'tl-ā'shən)

  1. A spark; a flash.

  2. A flash of light produced in a phosphor by absorption of an ionizing particle or photon.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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