Definition of scintilla in US English:



  • A tiny trace or spark of a specified quality or feeling.

    ‘a scintilla of doubt’
    • ‘Apart from squandering the resources of a prodigiously gifted cast, the film's greatest shortcoming must be its inability to generate the merest scintilla of dramatic tension around its central narrative thread.’
    • ‘Out go the twitching nostrils, flailing arms and sniffy declamations about a cheeky scintilla of vanilla and oodles of gunsmoke.’
    • ‘But what was overwhelmingly obvious about the coverage was that a terrible family tragedy was being exploited, without a scintilla of compassion for communal loss, for the sole purpose of newspaper sales.’
    • ‘Regarding your high class comment about me in your May 19, 2004 posting, why don't you have a scintilla of honesty and print the attached story from the Boston Globe which sets the record straight.’
    • ‘A scintilla of reasonable doubt might be expected about the efficacy and justice of a punishment now rejected by 71 countries.’
    • ‘In victory, they must hold on to at least a scintilla of humility, lest they get too cocky - and ripe for a takedown.’
    • ‘If he and his handlers had a scintilla of good judgment, they would give up the fight and embrace her as a worthy member of the Western canon - which she is, despite what they say.’
    • ‘Why do we buy into such hype, when everyone with a scintilla of intelligence understand there's no relationship between box office gross and motion picture quality?’
    • ‘Well, Larry, but it seems to be a scintilla of hope.’
    • ‘Now, there's been not a scintilla of evidence for that.’
    • ‘Even for a softcore sleaze tease like this, there is an appallingly distinct lack of intelligence all around, with not a scintilla of artistic integrity to be found in a single scene.’
    • ‘My understanding from his interview was that he did show a scintilla of self-doubt, which is very helpful for the commission, because after all, they need to make recommendations.’
    • ‘Had there been even the slightest scintilla of evidence then she would have been charged.’
    • ‘While it was perfectly legitimate for the society to criticise the treatment choice there was not a scintilla of evidence to support their claim.’
    • ‘None of them showed a scintilla of professional rivalry.’
    • ‘There was not a scintilla of substance in the reports as far as she knew.’
    • ‘There can be surely not a scintilla of doubt that the whole grisly situation is the very quintessence of irresponsibility.’
    • ‘Without a scintilla of regret or moral thought, your party has embraced corporate crooks, polluters and other moral rot.’
    • ‘Why do people yearn so desperately to believe that there is some kind of incredible profusion of words for such things among hunter-gatherer peoples, when they have never been shown a single scintilla of quantitative evidence?’
    • ‘Maybe for a scintilla of time that is correct, but there is no reason to suppose in theory that the common law did not impose itself immediately in place of the system of enforcement which was theretofore available.’
    particle, iota, jot, whit, atom, speck, bit, trace, ounce, shred, crumb, morsel, fragment, grain, drop, spot, mite, tittle, jot or tittle, modicum, hint, touch, suggestion, whisper, suspicion
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Late 17th century: from Latin.