Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An elegantly dressed, highly self-conscious young man.
  • noun A male suitor; a beau.
  • intransitive verb To court or woo.
  • intransitive verb To court a woman or women.
  • noun An incandescent particle, especially.
  • noun One thrown off from a burning substance.
  • noun One resulting from friction.
  • noun One remaining in an otherwise extinguished fire; an ember.
  • noun A glistening particle, as of metal.
  • noun A flash of light, especially a flash produced by electric discharge.
  • noun A short pulse or flow of electric current.
  • noun A trace or suggestion, as.
  • noun A quality or feeling with latent potential; a seed or germ.
  • noun A vital, animating, or activating factor.
  • noun Informal A radio operator aboard a ship.
  • noun The luminous phenomenon resulting from a disruptive discharge through an insulating material.
  • noun The discharge itself.
  • intransitive verb To give off sparks.
  • intransitive verb To operate correctly. Used of the ignition system of an internal-combustion engine.
  • intransitive verb To set in motion; activate.
  • intransitive verb To rouse to action; spur.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To play the spark or gallant; court.
  • To pay attention to, especially with a view to marriage; court; play the gallant to, in a general sense: as, he is parking Miss Doe; to spark a girl home.
  • noun A particle of ignited substance emitted from a body in combustion; a fiery particle thrown off by burning wood, iron, powder, or other substance.
  • noun Hence A scintillating or flying emanation, literally or figuratively; anything resembling a spark of fire: as, sparks from a gem; a spark of wit.
  • noun A small diamond used with many others to form a setting or frame, as to a cameo or a miniature painting; also, a distinct crystal of diamond with the natural curved edges, suitable for glaziers' use.
  • noun A separate bit or particle of fire or burning matter in an otherwise inert body or mass; hence, a bit of anything, material or immaterial, comparable to this in its nuclear character or possible extension of activity.
  • noun A person of a gay or sprightly character; a gay, lively, showy man (or, rarely, in former use, woman); a “blade” or roysterer.
  • noun A lover; a gallant; a beau.
  • To emit sparks, as of fire or electricity; sparkle or scintillate.
  • In electricity, to produce sparks at points where the continuity of the circuit is interrupted.
  • To affect by sparks, as of electricity; act upon by the emission or transmission of sparks.
  • To splash with dirt.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A brisk, showy, gay man.
  • noun A lover; a gallant; a beau.
  • noun A small particle of fire or ignited substance which is emitted by a body in combustion.
  • noun A small, shining body, or transient light; a sparkle.
  • noun That which, like a spark, may be kindled into a flame, or into action; a feeble germ; an elementary principle.
  • noun [U.S.] a contrivance to prevent the escape of sparks while it allows the passage of gas, -- chiefly used in the smokestack of a wood-burning locomotive. Called also spark consumer.
  • intransitive verb To play the spark, beau, or lover.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To sparkle.
  • intransitive verb (Elec.) To produce, or give off, sparks, as a dynamo at the commutator when revolving under the collecting brushes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A small particle of glowing matter, either molten or on fire.
  • noun A short or small burst of electrical discharge.
  • noun figuratively A small amount of something, such as an idea, that has the potential to become something greater, just as a spark can start a fire.
  • noun A ship's radio operator.
  • noun UK, slang An electrician.
  • verb transitive To trigger, kindle into activity (an argument, etc).

Etymologies

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

[Perhaps of Scandinavian origin or from spark.]

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

[Middle English sparke, from Old English spearca. V., from Middle English sparken, from Old English spearcian.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English sparke, sperke, from Old English spearca, from Proto-Germanic *sparkōn (cf. Dutch sprank, Middle Low German sparke), from Proto-Indo-European *sp(h)er(e)g- 'to strew, sprinkle' (compare Breton erc'h ‘snow’, Latin spargere ‘to scatter, spread’, sparsus ‘scattered’, Lithuanian sprógti ‘to germinate’, Ancient Greek spargân ‘to swell’, Avestan frasparega ‘branch, twig’, Sanskrit Parjanva ‘rain, rain god’).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

probably Scandinavian, akin to Old Norse sparkr 'sprightly'

Examples

Comments

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  • A lighting technician or Electrician.

    August 7, 2008

  • See sparkie.

    August 7, 2008

  • "To pay attention to, especially with a view to marriage; court; play the gallant to, in a general sense: as, he is parking Miss Doe; to spark a girl home."

    -- from the Century

    March 23, 2014