Definition of scintillate in English:



[no object]
  • 1Emit flashes of light; sparkle.

    ‘the sleek boat seemed to scintillate with a dark blue light’
    • ‘In places it is punctured by bollards and peeled back to form benches, revealing glazed voids packed with multi-coloured fluorescent tubes that scintillate seductively with kaleidoscopic light.’
    • ‘The script doesn't break new ground, or scintillate with New Yorker wit.’
    • ‘But it required a particular sense of cavalier gall to display the jewel in the crown in all its glory, scintillating under the spring sky, a diamond that many in India believe rightfully belongs to them, on this solemn occasion.’
    • ‘The gem scintillates a confused yellowish-green, before the yellow fades from it and it appears as an emerald.’
    • ‘But things that scintillate are prone to burn out.’
    • ‘Its huge flanks are encased in a delicately ribbed translucent skin that scintillates arrestingly with both natural and artificial light.’
    • ‘Earle's tender voice soars and the delicate songwriting scintillates.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It can tell that one point of light is brighter than another, that some are scintillating and some are not, but it doesn't know why.’
    • ‘You'll also appreciate how water is Sydney's greatest asset, making the city scintillate and dazzle.’
    • ‘The large crowds which attend these lavish events in the ‘marriage season’ may be a bit talkative and restless, but always scintillate with so much feminine glamour and radiance all around.’
    • ‘In addition, the exposed lantern tissue of P. versicolor males, when immersed in firefly saline high in potassium and calcium ions, scintillates with hundreds of photocytes flashing in random fashion.’
    • ‘Screens of slatted walnut cast stark geometric shadows through the tall, luminous spaces, and water scintillates against stark planes of concrete and glass.’
    • ‘Piano Concerto #15's opening allegro, for example, scintillates like sunlight on a choppy lake.’
    • ‘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.’
    sparkle, shine, gleam, glitter, flash, shimmer, twinkle, glint, glisten, wink, blink
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    1. 1.1Physics Fluoresce momentarily when struck by a charged particle or photon.
      ‘a zinc sulphide screen scintillated when it was struck by an alpha particle’
      • ‘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.’


Early 17th century: from Latin scintillat- ‘sparkled’, from the verb scintillare, from scintilla ‘spark’.