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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 in (one's) eye

1. A facial expression that denotes happiness, amusement, or knowledge of a secret. Just when Rita thought all hope was lost, Jared got a twinkle in his eye that told her he had a plan to get them both out of that sticky situation.
2. A hope or plan that is not yet in existence. You were not even a twinkle in your mother's eye when that photo was taken.
See also: eye, twinkle

twinkle in (one's) father's eye

A phrase used to describe the time before one's birth. I never knew my grandparents; they died when I was just a twinkle in my father's eye.
See also: eye, twinkle

when (one) was a twinkle in (one's) father's eye

Before one was born. I never knew my grandparents; they died when I was a twinkle in my father's eye.
See also: eye, 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

a twinkle in someone's eye


a gleam in someone's eye

If a plan or project is only a twinkle in or a gleam in someone's eye, it is only at the stage of being considered as a possibility. Projects that a few years back were just a twinkle in the planners' eyes are now bricks and cement. At this point, space-launched weapons were still only a gleam in his eye. Note: You can also talk about a glint in someone's eye. The European central bank was still no more than a glint in its creators' eyes. Note: Words such as gleam, glint and twinkle can be used to describe the way people's eyes shine or reflect the light. They often suggest hidden energy, emotion, or humour and refer to the excitement of having a particular idea before putting it into practice.
See also: eye, twinkle

a twinkle in someone's eye

something that is still in the pre-planning stage and on which no action has yet been taken, especially a child not as yet conceived. informal
See also: eye, twinkle
References in classic literature ?
Her little black nose went sniffle, sniffle, snuffle, and her eyes went twinkle, twinkle; and underneath her cap--where Lucie had yellow curls--that little person had PRICKLES!
Aye, that have I," returned Robin, his eyes all a twinkle, "five hundred horned beasts have I and my brothers, and none of them have we been able to sell.
At last there came an odd little twinkle into his eyes, and he said, with quite a new meaning in his voice, "That'll do nicely.
The twinkle died out as Moti Guj tried to look delighted.
While the stars that oversprinkle All the heavens, seem to twinkle With a crystalline delight; Keeping time, time, time, In a sort of Runic rhyme, To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells From the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells, bells - From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.
They could see the green light twinkle as it passed between the obstructing branches.
To his right walked a huge red-headed man, with broad smile and merry twinkle, whose clothes seemed to be bursting and splitting at every seam, as though he were some lusty chick who was breaking bravely from his shell.
You're millions of miles away and you won't even twinkle once.
No little Gradgrind had ever learnt the silly jingle, Twinkle, twinkle, little star; how I wonder what you are