Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To shine with slight, intermittent gleams, as distant lights or stars; flicker; glimmer. See Synonyms at flash.
  • intransitive v. To be bright or sparkling, as with merriment or delight: eyes that twinkled with joy.
  • intransitive v. To blink or wink the eyes. See Synonyms at blink.
  • intransitive v. To move about or to and fro rapidly and gracefully; flit.
  • transitive v. To emit (light) in slight, intermittent gleams.
  • n. A slight, intermittent gleam of light; a sparkling flash; a glimmer.
  • n. A sparkle of merriment or delight in the eye.
  • n. A brief interval; a twinkling.
  • n. A rapid to-and-fro movement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to shine with a flickering light; to glimmer
  • v. to be bright with delight
  • v. to bat, blink or wink the eyes
  • v. to flit to and fro
  • n. a sparkle or glimmer of light
  • n. a sparkle of delight in the eyes.
  • n. a flitting movement

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To open and shut the eye rapidly; to blink; to wink.
  • intransitive v. To shine with an intermitted or a broken, quavering light; to flash at intervals; to sparkle; to scintillate.
  • n. A closing or opening, or a quick motion, of the eye; a wink or sparkle of the eye.
  • n. A brief flash or gleam, esp. when rapidly repeated.
  • n. The time of a wink; a twinkling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To shut an eye or the eyes with an involuntary twitch or with a quick voluntary and significant action; blink; wink.
  • Of the eyelids, to open and shut with frequent involuntary twitches; hence, of anything that moves rapidly, to dart to and fro.
  • To pass in and out of sight rapidly, as a light; flash at almost insensible intervals; shine with quick, irregular gleams; scintillate; sparkle, as a star.
  • To open and shut rapidly; wink; blink.
  • To emit in quick gleams; flash out.
  • To influence or charm by sparkling.
  • n. A twitching of the eyelid; a blinking; a wink.
  • n. A quick, tremulous light; a glimmer; a sparkle; a flash.
  • n. The time required for a wink; a twinkling.

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

  • v. emit or reflect light in a flickering manner
  • n. a rapid change in brightness; a brief spark or flash
  • v. gleam or glow intermittently
  • n. merriment expressed by a brightness or gleam or animation of countenance

Etymologies

Middle English twinklen, from Old English twinclian, frequentative of twincan, to blink.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Old English twinclian (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The pink tone to the twinkle is the iridium based particle beams cooking off a fusion drive.

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  • It is not that we see a smile, or a reaction etc….what we see is what we call a twinkle in her eye.

    Regarding The CAT Scan Of Terri Schiavo’s Brain

  • An idealist may say to a capitalist, 'Don't you sometimes feel in the rich twilight, when the lights twinkle from the distant hamlet in the hills, that all humanity is a holy family?'

    Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog:

  • Fairfax County political activist Ben Tribbett, quoted Connolly as saying about Herrity, He was a political adversary, but he would do it more often than not with a certain twinkle in his eye.

    Gerry Connolly Sucks, Part 22

  • "Connolly's quote:" He was a political adversary, but he would do it more often than not with a certain twinkle in his eye.

    Remember When Gerry Taunted a Corpse?

  • The day of Vladimir Nabokov's death -- July 2, 1977 -- is firmly fixed in my memory, for on the following day Donald Barthelme said casually to me, with a puckish lift of his upper lip and what in non-Barthelmian prose might be described as a twinkle of the stone-colored eye behind wire-rimmed glasses: Happy?

    Joyce Carol Oates's 'In the Absence of Mentors/Monsters': Narrative Magazine

  • One of the most fascinating results of fifth-chakra distress that I have observed clinically is a loss of the so-called twinkle in the eye.

    Meditation as Medicine

  • He could recall the twinkle in her eye, the sub-mockery in her tone, as she commented with that half-contemptuous "Yes -- George something!" upon his blundering ignorance.

    The Damnation of Theron Ware

  • With our bare eyes, we saw Venus, Orions Belt, and then star after star I couldn't name twinkle into existence.

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  • Woodsman: just don't call twinkle toes, dommy. it will really push him off. the d.o.m.:

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