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See more synonyms for scintillating on Thesaurus.com
  1. animated; vivacious; effervescent: a scintillating personality.
  2. witty; brilliantly clever: a scintillating conversationalist; a play full of scintillating dialogue.
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Origin of scintillating

First recorded in 1880–85; scintillate + -ing1
Related formsscin·til·lat·ing·ly, adverbun·scin·til·lat·ing, adjective


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.
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verb (used with object), scin·til·lat·ed, scin·til·lat·ing.
  1. to emit as sparks; flash forth.
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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

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British Dictionary definitions for scintillating


  1. sparkling; twinkling
  2. animated or brilliant
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Derived Formsscintillatingly, adverb


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
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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 scintillating



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper