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in the twinkle of an eye

Immediately; very quickly; at once. (A variant of the more common "in the twinkling of an eye.") Just call us on this number if you have any problems, and we'll be back in the twinkle of an eye. Don't worry, boss, I'll have this report typed up in the twinkle of an eye!
See also: eye, of, twinkle

twinkle with something

[for someone's eyes] to sparkle because of something. Her eyes twinkled with laughter. Tom's eyes twinkled with recognition when he saw Gwen again.
See also: twinkle

when somebody was a (mere) twinkle in their father's eye

at a time before someone was born All this happened a very long time ago, when you were a mere twinkle in your father's eye.
See also: eye, twinkle
References in classic literature ?
I see a little twinkle in one of oor eyes--just like the moon.
No little Gradgrind had ever learnt the silly jingle, Twinkle, twinkle, little star; how I wonder what you are
The tired woodman seeks his cot That twinkles up the hill; And sleep has touched the wanderers That sang the twilight still.
Stars twinkle because random temperature variations continually ruffle the atmosphere, creating shifting air pockets that act as little, mobile lenses.
Filled with music, friendship, laughter and heart, parents and their daughters will want to watch Twinkle Toes: The Movie again and again.
Akshay is a very doting dad, which of course must be a reassurance to Twinkle that he values family life.
Last week, due to the efforts of the Burntwood and District Royal British Legion, Tony realised that dream and met two local nurses who worked at the hospital - including the nurse formerly known as Twinkle.
Twinkle was so named because when she walked towards you "her little, white legs just twinkled".
Owner Lib Hallam, a college lecturer in Cambridge, said: "I keep the radio on when I go out to entertain Twinkle and also develop his musical taste.
The rapidly changing index deforms the wavefronts of incoming starlight so that the radiation appears to twinkle and come from a fuzzy blob instead of a celestial point.
The campaign includes lighthearted television spots that were directed by Pucho, the highly acclaimed South American director, and feature guests of all ages leaping and diving into Sheraton's new, luxurious confection of comfort to the classic tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
With Twinkle Twinkle Little Scout and Twinkle Twinkle Little Violet, babies from birth to 36 months can hear gentle first words and counting rhymes while snuggling with a cozy friend.
And when someone is remembered They pass a star the word, Then the star begins to twinkle To show us that they've heard.
She's going to make a single of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for GMTV and it's going to be used on Yorkshire, Tyne Tees and Anglia, so it's going well.
Twinkle, a three-year-old female about the size of a sheep dog, dug her way out of her pen at Eden Ostrich World, in Langwathby, near Penrith, Cumbria, on Saturday.