Definition of sprinkle in English:



  • 1[with object and adverbial] Cover (an object or surface) with small drops or particles of a substance:

    ‘I sprinkled the floor with water’
    • ‘At the Dawn Temple a saffron robed monk sprinkled us with holy water and tied yellow string around our wrists in exchange for a donation in his bowl.’
    • ‘We joined the party, and we all ate sliced fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with chunky sea salt’
    • ‘One warm, humid summer day is all it takes to trigger an outbreak of powdery mildew, a fungal disease that causes leaves to look as if they have been sprinkled with talcum powder.’
    • ‘They were made from a rich yeast dough, contained currants, were additionally flavoured with cinnamon or nutmeg, and were sprinkled with powdered sugar after baking.’
    • ‘Instead, 217 was not such a bad score on a pitch sprinkled with drizzle and well disposed to good seam bowling.’
    • ‘The fried rice was mixed up with tiny pieces of chopped onion and bacon, and was finally sprinkled with chopped green onion.’
    • ‘Pour the soup in bowls, sprinkle the surface with toasted sesame seeds, and serve with sesame crackers.’
    • ‘The accompanying pale yellow fries are crisp, lightly battered, fast-foody and sprinkled with sea salt.’
    • ‘The dish is comprised of strips of beef, deep fried in batter, drizzled with a sweet sauce and sprinkled with sesame.’
    • ‘Take your meat and liberally sprinkle it with salt and pepper on both sides.’
    • ‘Two large cannolis, each with mini chocolate chips on either end were nestled inside, the tops of the crispy pastry shells sprinkled lightly with powdered sugar.’
    • ‘Smith starts her day with oatmeal sprinkled with almonds or walnuts and flaxseed.’
    • ‘In a classic botch-up, the grass at the River Plate Stadium had been liberally sprinkled with sea water, the grass dying in the heat.’
    • ‘The candlelight made his skin glow as if he'd been sprinkled with fairy dust.’
    • ‘A vague citrus flavour permeated the sautéed and very tender shrimp, which was sprinkled generously with snow peas and carrots.’
    • ‘Using a small spoon, sprinkle the surface with sago flour.’
    • ‘Cover the base with a layer of potato slices, press down lightly, season and sprinkle with chopped herbs.’
    • ‘Ladle the mussels into warmed bowls, drizzle over a little more sesame oil and serve sprinkled with the remaining spring onion shreds.’
    • ‘Douse them with the oil and the vinegar, and then sprinkle them with the thyme and salt and pepper.’
    • ‘Once the pan was hot enough, I sprinkled the smooth surface with vegetable oil and started reheating yesterday's rice.’
    dredge, dust, powder
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    1. 1.1 Scatter or pour (small drops or particles of a substance) over an object or surface:
      ‘sprinkle sesame seeds over the top’
      • ‘Spread hot mixture over the chips; sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top and put in the oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned.’
      • ‘Then he put on his aftershave and sprinkled some on me.’
      • ‘Salt, then, was too valuable to be sprinkled on food.’
      • ‘The nice thing about salt is that it can be sprinkled on nearly everything.’
      • ‘Mass begins with the archbishop walking through the aisles, sprinkling holy water left and right.’
      • ‘Meteorologists have known since 1946 that dry ice sprinkled on clouds can cause rain to fall.’
      • ‘Once it has thickened, pour it over the fruit - sprinkle a little icing sugar over the custard to stop a skin forming.’
      • ‘Aurora was kneeling beside me, lightly sprinkling water on my face to rouse me.’
      • ‘At some point, fresh chives and tiny capers had been sprinkled on but they were still green, while the exterior of the fish was ever so slightly caramelised.’
      • ‘Some residents still sprinkle red brick dust on their doorway steps to ward off evil spirits.’
      • ‘Seeds are sprinkled evenly on top of this soil and pressed in.’
      • ‘Toast the bread slices, one side only, pile the cheese on an untoasted side, sprinkle a few drops of milk on top of the cheese and grill until the cheese bubbles.’
      • ‘Each of us was served a little mound of risotto, on which I ground pepper and sprinkled Parmesan, with a side of green salad.’
      • ‘A priest sprinkles holy water on an infant's head, chanting as he does so.’
      • ‘Easy to apply, this herbicide may be sprinkled on the soil surface of garden beds or on top of mulch any time of the day throughout the growing season.’
      • ‘Throughout the procession the monks sprinkled sacred water, blessing the people from the community who were lining the streets.’
      • ‘If desired grated cheese and breadcrumbs can be sprinkled on top and then bake for a further 20 mins.’
      • ‘At night she sprinkles a few drops of lavender oil on her pillow to help her sleep.’
      • ‘Evenly sprinkle the grated cheese over the sauce.’
      • ‘Getting out the cereal, milk and sugar, she walked with them over to the table and poured her breakfast and sprinkled sugar over it.’
      • ‘Water brought by the attenders will be blessed during the ceremony, and can then be sprinkled on the graves.’
      scatter, strew
      splash, trickle, spray, shower, spritz
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    2. 1.2 Distribute or disperse something randomly or irregularly throughout (something):
      ‘he sprinkled his conversation with quotations’
      • ‘This rich agricultural area, which was sprinkled with old Phoenician harbours, was well within the known world of the Mediterranean trading economy.’
      • ‘From the moment she saw its black coat, sprinkled with white hairs, she fell in love with it.’
      • ‘She pushed her black hair, sprinkled lightly with gray, away from her face and closed her eyes.’
      • ‘The conversation was sprinkled with just the right brand of British wit, capable of making anyone feel at home.’
      • ‘Their internal monologues and many of their conversations are liberally sprinkled with French words and phrases.’
      • ‘I pushed up the sleeves of my shirt, revealing toned arms lightly sprinkled with dark hair.’
      • ‘We wandered up into the hills, which are sprinkled just at the moment with sheep: first lambs are due hereabouts in ten days or so.’
      • ‘While often sad and grim, the book is nevertheless sprinkled with the author's trademark humor.’
    3. 1.3 Place or attach (a number of things) at irregularly spaced intervals:
      ‘a dress with little daisies sprinkled all over it’
      • ‘Tiny yellow flowers were sprinkled throughout the mosses that blanketed the slippery rocks at the waters walls.’
      • ‘These tidbits are sprinkled throughout the text.’
      • ‘Claims such as ‘white is the new black’ or ‘history is the new cooking’ are liberally sprinkled all over the media.’
      • ‘Humor is sprinkled nicely throughout what is mainly meant to be a sentimental story.’
      • ‘Greene had the good sense to tape his conversations with his Dad, whose verbatim reminiscences about the war are sprinkled throughout the book.’
      • ‘Although a handful of these tired comic clichés are sprinkled throughout the text, they are not what it - or the actress performing it solo - relies on for laughs.’
      • ‘There were freckles sprinkled across his nose, which was something I had never noticed before.’
      • ‘Such personal anecdotes are sprinkled throughout the book.’
      • ‘Web site addresses are now sprinkled through the pages of The Westmorland Gazette.’
      • ‘Mountains surround the city and large hills are sprinkled throughout the city.’
      • ‘Freckles were lightly sprinkled over her nose and her hair was pulled up into a high ponytail.’
      • ‘He sprinkles witticisms and little musical gems like this throughout the show, entertaining the audience during Williams' many costume changes.’
      • ‘Little nuggets of information are sprinkled throughout.’
      • ‘He also sprinkles a ton of real Hollywood names throughout his book - and seems to be dead-on accurate with most of the way he uses those names.’
      • ‘Sprinkled throughout the book are insightful, fresh ways of viewing the relationships between soloists and orchestras.’
      • ‘Factual errors are sprinkled through the text.’
      • ‘As a bonus, mouthwatering recipes are sprinkled throughout the narrative.’
      • ‘Pilgrim is a philosophy major, and he sprinkles philosophical humor throughout the book.’
      • ‘She sprinkles plenty of local locations throughout the book, from the area she remembers so well from growing up around Emblem Street and her beloved West Pennine moors.’
      • ‘Yucca plants are sprinkled throughout the room, and a Tibetan-looking arch lies a few steps ahead.’
  • 2it sprinkles", "it is sprinkling, etc.North American [no object] Rain very lightly:

    ‘it began to sprinkle’
    • ‘It had begun to sprinkle lightly, but instead of hurrying home, he ignored it.’
    • ‘A light rain sprinkled from dark thunderclouds above but no one even noticed.’
    • ‘Small raindrops sprinkled down and landed on their faces.’
    • ‘It can't be raining that hard, I swear it was sprinkling when I walked in here.’
    • ‘It began to sprinkle, and then slowly turned into a steady rain.’
    • ‘It had begun to sprinkle when he came to a halt in a broad, familiar clearing.’
    • ‘Rain had started to sprinkle from the dark sky as she looked around the quiet neighborhood.’
    • ‘Suddenly the clouds rolled in and it began to sprinkle.’
    • ‘In fact, at his house it was probably only sprinkling a little.’
    • ‘Light, cold rain sprinkled throughout the deserted streets; everyone was elsewhere celebrating the new year.’
    • ‘The next morning Edana woke up to the sounds of rain sprinkling on the pond outside her window.’
    • ‘It started to sprinkle, and then rain and Jaime couldn't move.’
    • ‘It wasn't fancy, by any means, but it would keep off the rain that was already starting to sprinkle.’
    • ‘Above us, raindrops began to sprinkle down on the leaves.’
    • ‘Soon it started to sprinkle, and then the rain became heavier, and heavier.’
    • ‘Lost in the moment Winnie was oblivious to the fact that it was sprinkling, a shower was about to hit the area.’
    • ‘I stood there as it began to sprinkle, only a warning that it was soon going to rain.’
    • ‘The rain wasn't pouring down, nor was it sprinkling, it was a nice little shower.’
    • ‘Then it started to sprinkle lightly and we decided it was time to head home.’
    • ‘The rain sprinkled down, as the car pulled away from the graveyard, and turned onto the highway.’


  • 1A small quantity or amount of something scattered over an object or surface:

    ‘a generous sprinkle of pepper’
    figurative ‘fiction with a sprinkle of fact’
    • ‘An extra drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of brown sugar on top is yummy!’
    • ‘I add milk to the oats and a sprinkle of sugar.’
    • ‘In a medium salad bowl, combine the sesame oil, rice vinegar and a sprinkle of chili powder.’
    • ‘A sprinkle of freckles over her cheeks and nose made her look adorable.’
    • ‘A light sprinkle of near invisible freckles danced across the bridge of her nose.’
    • ‘Many wheat breads are simply white breads dressed up with a few sprinkles of whole grains and caramel coloring.’
    • ‘Fill each tart to the rim with the leek and onion filling and top with a sprinkle of Parmigiano.’
    • ‘The weather was cool and overcast, with a slight sprinkle of rain at mid-day.’
    • ‘The unknown girl was Japanese with dark skin, raven black hair, and a sprinkle of freckles across the bridge of her nose.’
    • ‘He was short and thin, with fair hair and a light sprinkle of freckles on his nose.’
    • ‘Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.’
    • ‘Each chapter is named after a food, and a memory is explored through each dish, with a heavy emphasis on Jewish humour and just a sprinkle of pathos.’
    • ‘In other words, a sprinkle of salt is harmless but 3 grams of salt will kill an adult.’
    • ‘The Gazette is more political with some humor while the Journal is more humorous with a sprinkle of politics thrown in.’
    • ‘A few white fairy lights can add a sprinkle of magic among the winter foliage of evergreen trees and shrubs.’
    • ‘Serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and a swirl of cream.’
    • ‘Try adding a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper or balsamic vinegar to a bowl of freshly cut strawberries - it makes a surprising change.’
    • ‘Kevin smiled at the older woman, who had hardly a sprinkle of gray in her hair.’
    • ‘Garnish the salad with a sprinkle of arugula flowers, if available.’
  • 2North American [in singular] A light rain:

    ‘the rain grew from a mere sprinkle to a respectable drizzle’
    • ‘The rain outside has slowed down to a light sprinkle.’
    • ‘Once inside of the parlor, she could see that the rain had begun to fall, light sprinkles tapping rhythmically against the window glass.’
    • ‘The rain had finally ceased to a gentle sprinkle and looking from his position, his bike hadn't received any kind of water damage.’
    • ‘The rain first started as a light sprinkle but now it was getting heavier and heavier.’
    • ‘It begins to rain, just a sprinkle, and Bobbie tells me to put on my hood.’
    • ‘She stuck her hand out, letting the soft sprinkles spot it.’
    • ‘Turn on your headlights, even when there's a light sprinkle.’
    • ‘The sprinkle had become a thunderstorm and the loud thunder resonating throughout her room made Amber spring from her bed in surprise.’
    • ‘More little sprigs began sprinkling down on us from above, and then the sprinkle became a downpour.’
    • ‘A light sprinkle on Thursday lead to an evening downpour just days before the race.’
    • ‘There is a light sprinkle starting to fall from the dark sky.’
    • ‘By the time she left the bathroom, it was almost 7 pm. And the rain outside had dwindled to a small shower, or even a sprinkle, at most.’
    • ‘Rain was in the forecast, did not look good earlier, but all we got was a brief sprinkle while we were inside.’
    • ‘It began as a light sprinkle at first but within five minutes it was a full-blown downpour.’
    • ‘The carrier steamed under a small patch of gray clouds, and a light sprinkle fell to the deck.’
    • ‘At the first sign of sprinkles, we moved as one synchronised team to unfold the glorious rainwear.’
    • ‘The sprinkle had become a downpour by the time Miko reached the forest, as he was not fast enough to escape it.’
    • ‘Soon rain was falling all around them - sprinkles at first, then rain in earnest, then torrents.’
    rainfall, precipitation, raindrops, rainwater, wet weather
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  • 3sprinklesNorth American Tiny sugar strands and balls used for decorating cakes and desserts.

    • ‘Your favorite ice cream flavor is cotton candy and you eat it with rainbow sprinkles.’
    • ‘I bit into a doughnut covered in chocolate sprinkles.’
    • ‘We made chocolate cakes and decorated them with sprinkles.’
    • ‘Friends are threatening to come around with Fanta Lite and biscuits with sprinkles on top.’
    • ‘Make some red icing and then the kids can decorate the top with sprinkles and heart shaped candies.’


Late Middle English: perhaps from Middle Dutch sprenkelen.