Monday, January 16, 2006

Spark (n)

From the American Heritage Dictionary
  1. An incandescent particle, especially:
    1. One thrown off from a burning substance.
    2. One resulting from friction.
    3. One remaining in an otherwise extinguished fire; an ember.
  2. A glistening particle, as of metal.
    1. A flash of light, especially a flash produced by electric discharge.
    2. A short pulse or flow of electric current.
  3. A trace or suggestion, as:
    1. A quality or feeling with latent potential; a seed or germ: the spark of genius.
    2. A vital, animating, or activating factor: the spark of revolution.
  4. sparks (used with a sing. verb) Informal. A radio operator aboard a ship.
  5. Electricity.
    1. The luminous phenomenon resulting from a disruptive discharge through an insulating material.
    2. The discharge itself.

v., sparked, sparkĀ·ing, sparks. v.intr.
  1. To give off sparks.
  2. To give an enthusiastic response.
  3. To operate correctly. Used of the ignition system of an internal-combustion engine.
  1. To set in motion; activate: The incident sparked a controversy.
  2. To rouse to action; spur: A cheering crowd sparked the runner to triumph.

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