October 05, 2012
scintillating (adjective)
\SIN-tuh-lay-ting\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: brilliantly lively, stimulating, or witty
How do you use it?
We listened with rapt attention to the scintillating talk given by the visiting writer about the nature of writing and how to get a book published.
Are you a word wiz?

In what language does the English word "scintillating" find its origins?

Did you choose C? Brilliant! "Scintillating" and the verb that gave rise to it, "scintillate," are both descendants of the Latin verb "scintillare," meaning "to spark." This Latin verb is from the Latin noun "scintilla," meaning (what else?) "spark." "Scintilla" gave us two other common English words. One is "stencil," which came from a medieval French word that meant "heavily ornamented" or "sparkling with decorations," and the other is "scintilla," meaning "spark" or "bit."
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