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Origin of scintilla

1685–95; < Latin: spark Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for scintilla

dash, flash, crumb, speck, dab, hint, pinch, drop, spot, particle, whiff, whisper, sparkle, shred, shade, atom, smidgen, iota, ray

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British Dictionary definitions for scintilla


  1. a minute amount; hint, trace, or particle

Word Origin for scintilla

C17: from Latin: 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 scintilla

1690s, "spark, glimmer," hence "least particle, trace," from figurative use of Latin scintilla "particle of fire, spark, glittering speck, atom," probably from PIE *ski-nto-, from root *skai- "to shine, to gleam" (cf. Gothic skeinan, Old English scinan "to shine;" see shine (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper