Share this entry

Share this page

scintillate

Line breaks: scin¦til|late
Pronunciation: /ˈsɪntɪleɪt
 
/

Definition of scintillate in English:

verb

[no object]
1Emit flashes of light; sparkle: the sleek boat seemed to scintillate with a dark blue light
More example sentences
  • Concerts are held here on summer evenings, with the room scintillating to the light of two thousand reflected candles.
  • Walking in the night air along the Bosphorus where the city light scintillated on the water, I envied the dervishes their passion, their longing and their faith.
  • He has proven himself a prodigious master of the qanun, an 81-string Arabic zither, his dexterous plucking unlocking the instrument's potential to scintillate and shine.
Synonyms
1.1 Physics Fluoresce momentarily when struck by a charged particle or photon: a zinc sulphide screen scintillated when it was struck by an alpha particle
More example sentences
  • He was working on a method for identifying quasars through a discovery in the mid 1960s that quasars scintillate (fluctuate in detected intensity of their radio emissions) more than less compact radio sources.

Origin

early 17th century: from Latin scintillat- 'sparkled', from the verb scintillare, from scintilla 'spark'.

More
  • tinsel from (Late Middle English):

    Sparkly tinsel comes from Latin scintilla ‘a spark’, which is also the source of scintillate (early 17th century). In medieval times tinsel was fabric woven with metallic thread or spangles—it became something like our familiar shiny strips in the late 16th century. The idea of glitter was picked up during the 1970s in Tinseltown, a nickname for Hollywood and its cinema.

Derivatives

scintillant

1
adjective& noun
Example sentences
  • But the flashes were more brilliant than the rainbow - purest blue, most delicate violet, brightest yellow, and all the intermediary shades, with the scintillant brilliancy of the diamond, dazzling, blinding, iridescent.
  • Mine was a Bearded Silver Muskelunge of surpassing beauty and poignancy with mica-chip eyes and a hint of rakish scintillant teeth.
  • Her dress was held up by a spaghetti strap tank-top and it was a scintillant shade of baby blue, falling a little above her knees.

Words that rhyme with scintillate

titillateconstellate

Definition of scintillate in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day reciprocity
Pronunciation: ˌrɛsɪˈprɒsɪti
noun
exchanging things with others for mutual benefit…