spark (n.)

Old English spearca "glowing or fiery particle thrown off," from Proto-Germanic *spark- (source also of Middle Low German sparke, Middle Dutch spranke, not found in other Germanic languages). Electrical sense dates from 1748. Old French esparque is from Germanic.

Slang sense of "a gallant, a showy beau, a roisterer" (c. 1600) is perhaps a figurative use, but also perhaps from cognate Old Norse sparkr "lively." Spark plug first recorded 1902 (sparking plug is from 1899); figurative sense of "one who initiates or is a driving force in some activity" is from 1941.

spark (v.)

c. 1200, "to emit sparks," from spark (n.). Meaning "to affect by an electrical spark" is from 1889. Figurative meaning "stimulate, to trigger" first attested 1912. Meaning "to play the gallant, to court" is from the 17c. secondary sense of the noun. Related: Sparked; sparking.

updated on November 05, 2013

Definitions of spark from WordNet
spark (n.)
a momentary flash of light;
Synonyms: flicker / glint
spark (n.)
merriment expressed by a brightness or gleam or animation of countenance;
Synonyms: sparkle / twinkle / light
spark (n.)
electrical conduction through a gas in an applied electric field;
Synonyms: discharge / arc / electric arc / electric discharge
spark (n.)
a small but noticeable trace of some quality that might become stronger;
a spark of decency
a spark of interest
spark (n.)
a small fragment of a burning substance thrown out by burning material or by friction;
spark (v.)
put in motion or move to act;
Synonyms: trip / actuate / trigger / activate / set off / spark off / trigger off / touch off
spark (v.)
emit or produce sparks;
A high tension wire, brought down by a storm, can continue to spark
Synonyms: sparkle
Spark (n.)
Scottish writer of satirical novels (born in 1918);
Synonyms: Muriel Spark / Dame Muriel Spark / Muriel Sarah Spark
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.