- 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.
- a flash of light from the ionization of a phosphor struck by an energetic photon or particle.
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for scintillation
It is sad that I can remember nothing of all this scintillation.The Moon and Sixpence
W. Somerset Maugham
If brains were radium, you couldn't make a flicker on a scintillation counter.Pagan Passions
Gordon Randall Garrett
Miriam retorted with the first scintillation of gaiety she had shown on this occasion.The Tragic Muse
“To save you,” said the hermit, with a scintillation of his half-pitiful smile.Blown to Bits
So long as we can get a scintillation of their meaning we must be satisfied.Flowers of Freethought
George W. Foote
- 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
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
- A spark; a flash.
- 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.