from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A minute amount; an iota or trace.
  • n. A spark; a flash.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small spark or flash.
  • n. A small or trace amount.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A spark; the least particle; an iota; a tittle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A spark; a glimmer; hence, the least particle; a trace; a tittle.
  • n. [capitalized] [NL.] In zoology:
  • n. A genus of bivalve mollusks.
  • n. A genus of lepidopterous insects.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a tiny or scarcely detectable amount
  • n. a sparkling glittering particle


Latin, spark.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Existing in English since the seventeenth century; from Latin scintilla ("sparkling speck, atom"). (Wiktionary)



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  • A hundred races, from the mightiest to the weakest... you took from each of them a shade, a hue, a tint, and a scintilla, enfolding them to your bosom, adding them to the splendor of your attire, and continuing your course through the ages with vigor and resolve.

    Arshak Chopanian, "Ode to My Native Tongue"

    July 25, 2011

  • Sounds like a fragment of a fascinating conversation.

    August 26, 2009

  • You know, I'd think a scintilla is smaller than a soupçon, just from the phrase"not a scintilla of evidence.

    June 21, 2008

  • But smaller than a soupspoon.

    June 21, 2008

  • I always envisage a scintilla as being hard and sharp, like a glass splinter, whereas a soupcon sounds much more liquid somehow.

    June 21, 2008

  • Probably bigger than a soupcon

    June 21, 2008

  • Italian - spark.

    April 7, 2008

  • Also the name of an imaginary ultra-compact car. ;->

    October 8, 2007

  • October 7, 2007