an act of shining with intermittent gleams of light.
the time required for a wink; an instant.
Archaic. winking; a wink.

Origin of twinkling

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at twinkle, -ing1
Related formsun·twin·kling, adjective


[twing-kuh l]

verb (used without object), twin·kled, twin·kling.

to shine with a flickering gleam of light, as a star or distant light.
to sparkle in the light: The diamond on her finger twinkled in the firelight.
(of the eyes) to be bright with amusement, pleasure, etc.
to move flutteringly and quickly, as flashes of light; flit.
Archaic. to wink; blink.

verb (used with object), twin·kled, twin·kling.

to emit (light) in intermittent gleams or flashes.
Archaic. to wink (the eyes or eyelids).


a flickering or intermittent brightness or light.
a scintillating brightness in the eyes; sparkle.
the time required for a wink; a twinkling.
Archaic. a wink.

Origin of twinkle

before 900; Middle English twinklen (v.), Old English twinclian; see twink, -le
Related formstwin·kler, nounun·twin·kled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for twinkling

Historical Examples of twinkling

  • Twinkling lights were all that I could see of the noted town.

    On the Mexican Highlands

    William Seymour Edwards

  • Twinkling, shining, expanding, the stars grew into a pair of eyes in the darkness.

    Camps and Trails

    Henry Abbott

  • Twinkling eyes with red lashes shone with the utmost good-will.

  • A beacon-light far off, Twinkling across the waves like a star!

    Songs from Vagabondia

    Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey

  • Twinkling lights also appeared in the night heavens between the swiftly flying clouds.

British Dictionary definitions for twinkling


twink (twɪŋk)


a very short time; instant; momentAlso called: twinkling of an eye


verb (mainly intr)

to emit or reflect light in a flickering manner; shine brightly and intermittently; sparkletwinkling stars
(of the eyes) to sparkle, esp with amusement or delight
rare to move about quickly
(also tr) rare to wink (the eyes); blink


an intermittent gleam of light; flickering brightness; sparkle or glimmer
an instant
a rare word for wink 1
Derived Formstwinkler, nountwinkly, adjective

Word Origin for twinkle

Old English twinclian; related to Middle High German zwinken to blink
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 twinkling



Old English twinclian, frequentative of twincan "to wink, blink;" related to Middle High German zwinken, German zwinkern, and probably somehow imitative. The noun is recorded from 1540s. Related: Twinkled; twinkling. Phrase in the twinkling of an eye is attested from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with twinkling


see in the twinkling of an eye.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.