Definition of sprinkle in English:



  • 1[with object] Scatter or pour small drops or particles of a substance over (an object or surface)

    ‘I sprinkled the floor with water’
    • ‘Meteorologists have known since 1946 that dry ice sprinkled on clouds can cause rain to fall.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mass begins with the archbishop walking through the aisles, sprinkling holy water left and right.’
    • ‘Seeds are sprinkled evenly on top of this soil and pressed in.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some residents still sprinkle red brick dust on their doorway steps to ward off evil spirits.’
    • ‘Water brought by the attenders will be blessed during the ceremony, and can then be sprinkled on the graves.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each of us was served a little mound of risotto, on which I ground pepper and sprinkled Parmesan, with a side of green salad.’
    • ‘Once it has thickened, pour it over the fruit - sprinkle a little icing sugar over the custard to stop a skin forming.’
    • ‘A priest sprinkles holy water on an infant's head, chanting as he does so.’
    • ‘Then he put on his aftershave and sprinkled some on me.’
    • ‘If desired grated cheese and breadcrumbs can be sprinkled on top and then bake for a further 20 mins.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Evenly sprinkle the grated cheese over the sauce.’
    • ‘At night she sprinkles a few drops of lavender oil on her pillow to help her sleep.’
    • ‘Getting out the cereal, milk and sugar, she walked with them over to the table and poured her breakfast and sprinkled sugar over it.’
    • ‘The nice thing about salt is that it can be sprinkled on nearly everything.’
    • ‘Aurora was kneeling beside me, lightly sprinkling water on my face to rouse me.’
    • ‘Salt, then, was too valuable to be sprinkled on food.’
    • ‘Throughout the procession the monks sprinkled sacred water, blessing the people from the community who were lining the streets.’
    dredge, dust, powder
    splash, trickle, spray, shower, spritz
    scatter, strew
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Scatter or pour (small drops or particles of a substance) over an object or surface.
      ‘sprinkle sesame seeds over the top’
      • ‘The accompanying pale yellow fries are crisp, lightly battered, fast-foody and sprinkled with sea salt.’
      • ‘The candlelight made his skin glow as if he'd been sprinkled with fairy dust.’
      • ‘The fried rice was mixed up with tiny pieces of chopped onion and bacon, and was finally sprinkled with chopped green onion.’
      • ‘Instead, 217 was not such a bad score on a pitch sprinkled with drizzle and well disposed to good seam bowling.’
      • ‘Take your meat and liberally sprinkle it with salt and pepper on both sides.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The dish is comprised of strips of beef, deep fried in batter, drizzled with a sweet sauce and sprinkled with sesame.’
      • ‘Smith starts her day with oatmeal sprinkled with almonds or walnuts and flaxseed.’
      • ‘We joined the party, and we all ate sliced fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with chunky sea salt’
      • ‘Once the pan was hot enough, I sprinkled the smooth surface with vegetable oil and started reheating yesterday's rice.’
      • ‘Pour the soup in bowls, sprinkle the surface with toasted sesame seeds, and serve with sesame crackers.’
      • ‘Using a small spoon, sprinkle the surface with sago flour.’
      • ‘Douse them with the oil and the vinegar, and then sprinkle them with the thyme and salt and pepper.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ladle the mussels into warmed bowls, drizzle over a little more sesame oil and serve sprinkled with the remaining spring onion shreds.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A vague citrus flavour permeated the sautéed and very tender shrimp, which was sprinkled generously with snow peas and carrots.’
      • ‘Cover the base with a layer of potato slices, press down lightly, season and sprinkle with chopped herbs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      splash, trickle, spray, shower, spritz
      scatter, strew
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Distribute or disperse something randomly or irregularly throughout (something)
      ‘he sprinkled his conversation with quotations’
      • ‘While often sad and grim, the book is nevertheless sprinkled with the author's trademark humor.’
      • ‘This rich agricultural area, which was sprinkled with old Phoenician harbours, was well within the known world of the Mediterranean trading economy.’
      • ‘The conversation was sprinkled with just the right brand of British wit, capable of making anyone feel at home.’
      • ‘From the moment she saw its black coat, sprinkled with white hairs, she fell in love with it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She pushed her black hair, sprinkled lightly with gray, away from her face and closed her eyes.’
    3. 1.3 Place or attach (a number of things) at irregularly spaced intervals.
      ‘a dress with little daisies sprinkled all over it’
      • ‘Web site addresses are now sprinkled through the pages of The Westmorland Gazette.’
      • ‘Tiny yellow flowers were sprinkled throughout the mosses that blanketed the slippery rocks at the waters walls.’
      • ‘Such personal anecdotes are sprinkled 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.’
      • ‘Claims such as ‘white is the new black’ or ‘history is the new cooking’ are liberally sprinkled all over the media.’
      • ‘As a bonus, mouthwatering recipes are sprinkled throughout the narrative.’
      • ‘Yucca plants are sprinkled throughout the room, and a Tibetan-looking arch lies a few steps ahead.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Greene had the good sense to tape his conversations with his Dad, whose verbatim reminiscences about the war are sprinkled throughout the book.’
      • ‘There were freckles sprinkled across his nose, which was something I had never noticed before.’
      • ‘He sprinkles witticisms and little musical gems like this throughout the show, entertaining the audience during Williams' many costume changes.’
      • ‘Humor is sprinkled nicely throughout what is mainly meant to be a sentimental story.’
      • ‘Sprinkled throughout the book are insightful, fresh ways of viewing the relationships between soloists and orchestras.’
      • ‘Little nuggets of information are sprinkled throughout.’
      • ‘Freckles were lightly sprinkled over her nose and her hair was pulled up into a high ponytail.’
      • ‘Mountains surround the city and large hills are sprinkled throughout the city.’
      • ‘These tidbits are sprinkled throughout the text.’
      • ‘Factual errors are sprinkled through the text.’
      • ‘Pilgrim is a philosophy major, and he sprinkles philosophical humor 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.’
  • 2it sprinkles", "it is sprinkling, etc.North American [no object] Rain very lightly.

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


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

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

    • ‘Make some red icing and then the kids can decorate the top with sprinkles and heart shaped candies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Your favorite ice cream flavor is cotton candy and you eat it with rainbow sprinkles.’


Late Middle English: perhaps from Middle Dutch sprenkelen.