sparks fly meaning, sparks fly definition | English Cobuild dictionary

Collins

spark

  
  ( sparks    plural & 3rd person present)   ( sparking    present participle)   ( sparked    past tense & past participle  )
1       n-count   A spark is a tiny bright piece of burning material that flies up from something that is burning.  
The fire gradually got bigger and bigger. Sparks flew off in all directions.     
2       n-count   A spark is a flash of light caused by electricity. It often makes a loud sound.  
He passed an electric spark through a mixture of gases.     
3       verb   If something sparks, sparks of fire or light come from it.  
The wires were sparking above me...      V  
I stared into the flames of the fire as it sparked to life.      V prep  
4       verb   If a burning object or electricity sparks a fire, it causes a fire.   (=start)  
A dropped cigarette may have sparked the fire.      V n  
5       n-count   A spark of a quality or feeling, especially a desirable one, is a small but noticeable amount of it.  
N of n  
His music lacked that vital spark of imagination...     
6       verb   If one thing sparks another, the first thing causes the second thing to start happening.   (=cause)  
What was it that sparked your interest in motoring?      V n  
...a row sparked by a comment about his sister.      V-ed  
      Spark off means the same as spark., phrasal verb  
That incident sparked it off...      V n P  
His book, Animal Liberation, sparked off a revolution in the way we think about animals.      V P n (not pron)  
7   
    bright spark  
8    If sparks fly between people, they discuss something in an excited or angry way.  
sparks fly             phrase   V inflects  
They are not afraid to tackle the issues or let the sparks fly when necessary.      spark off  
    spark 6  
Translation English - Cobuild Collins Dictionary  
See also:

spark, spar, sparky, sparse

Collaborative Dictionary     English Cobuild
v.
make something succeed strongly and rapidly
exp.
a problem, a trouble, a hiccup
the fly in the ointment that summer was the terrible weather: l' ennui cet été là fut le mauvais temps.
id.
the carrot is more effective than the stick
exp.
The actual say is: "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" This means that it is easier to persuade people if you use polite arguments and flattery than if you are confrontational.

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"Collins Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners 4th edition published in 2003 © HarperCollins Publishers 1987, 1995, 2001, 2003 and Collins A-Z Thesaurus 1st edition first published in 1995 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995"