One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An elf or fairy.
fairy, elf, pixie, imp, brownie, puck, peri, goblin, hobgoblin, kelpie, leprechaunView synonyms
- ‘The idea came to him during a storm, as he swam in the moat of his Suffolk farmhouse and watched the raindrops dancing on the surface like tiny water sprites.’
- ‘At first, he thought he had finally lost his mind, and was seeing faeries and sprites.’
- ‘They were once the ancient guardians of the forests, along with dryads and sprites.’
- ‘In England the hobgoblin was as helpful a sprite as the brownie and was also known as Robin Goodfellow or Puck.’
- ‘Oberon tells Puck, a mischievous sprite, to fetch him a certain magic flower, the juice of which he will press on the eyes of Titania while she sleeps, so that she may fall in love with what she first sees when she wakes.’
2A computer graphic which may be moved on-screen and otherwise manipulated as a single entity.
- ‘The computer sprites can't yet convey enough emotion for you to care about them.’
- ‘It was a CD for kids, which used cartoon sprites to teach basic computing skills.’
- ‘The graphics are 2D sprites and tiled backgrounds instead of a 3D engine that most modern games use.’
- ‘The graphics have improved, with nice big, colorful sprites for the enemies, and they're varied enough to be interesting.’
- ‘The graphics are very impressive indeed: large, detailed sprites with very fluid animations, a bursting colour palette and some of the most lush backgrounds I've ever seen make this game quite a visual treat.’
3A faint flash, typically red, sometimes emitted in the upper atmosphere over a thunderstorm owing to the collision of high-energy electrons with air molecules.
- ‘Occurring in the middle of the atmosphere, red sprites look like the stems of carrots, while blue jets are small streaks of light with flared ends like the horn of trumpet.’
- ‘Some scientists believe that if Columbia was hit by a sprite, heat-shield tiles could have been blasted off, exposing the vulnerable airframe.’
- ‘Space controllers are aware of unusual atmospheric phenomena called sprites, a form of lightning that flashes into space above thunder clouds.’
- ‘TGFs have been correlated with lightning strikes and may be related to visible phenomena that occur in the upper atmosphere over thunderstorms, such as red sprites and blue jets.’
- ‘While the primary goal was to study severe thunderstorms and their link to heavy rain and hail, scientists also gathered important data on lightning's role in triggering events above thunderclouds, like sprites.’
Middle English: alteration of sprit, a contraction of spirit.
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