Definition of scintillate in English:



  • 1Emit flashes of light; sparkle.

    • ‘Concerts are held here on summer evenings, with the room scintillating to the light of two thousand reflected candles.’
    • ‘Its huge flanks are encased in a delicately ribbed translucent skin that scintillates arrestingly with both natural and artificial light.’
    • ‘You'll also appreciate how water is Sydney's greatest asset, making the city scintillate and dazzle.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The script doesn't break new ground, or scintillate with New Yorker wit.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Earle's tender voice soars and the delicate songwriting scintillates.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Screens of slatted walnut cast stark geometric shadows through the tall, luminous spaces, and water scintillates against stark planes of concrete and glass.’
    sparkle, shine, gleam, glitter, flash, shimmer, twinkle, glint, glisten, wink, blink
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    1. 1.1Physics Fluoresce momentarily when struck by a photon or charged 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’.