Old English spearca; related to Middle Low German sparke, Middle Dutch spranke, Lettish spirgsti cinders, Latin spargere to strew
a fashionable or gallant young man
(Brit) generally (ironic) bright spark, a person who appears clever or witty some bright spark left the papers next to the open window
(rare) to woo (a person)
C16 (in the sense: beautiful or witty woman): perhaps of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse sparkr vivacious
Dame Muriel (Sarah). 1918–2006, British novelist and writer; her novels include Memento Mori (1959), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), The Takeover (1976), A Far Cry from Kensington (1988), Symposium (1990), and The Finishing School (2004)
O.E. spearca, from P.Gmc. *spark- (cf. M.L.G. sparke, M.Du. spranke, not found in other Gmc. languages). Electrical sense dates from 1748. Slang sense of "a gallant, a beau, a lover" (c.1600) is perhaps a fig. use, but also perhaps from cognate O.N. sparkr "lively." The verb is attested from c.1300; the slang meaning "stimulate, to trigger" first attested 1912. Spark plug first recorded 1903 (sparking plug is from 1902); fig. sense of "one who initiates or is a driving force in some activity" is from 1941.