Alternate spelling: Spright
In video game terms, a sprite is a 2 dimensional figure that represents some object in a game. For instance, sprites may be used to represent aircraft, missiles, or even people. On the Atari line of home computers, sprites were known as player-missile graphics.
On some systems, such as the Amiga and the Commodore 64, a sprite was a specific hardware implemented concept - a small image stored separately in RAM superimposed on the regular screen as part of the DAC process, allowing for much easier (faster) and more robust animation (sprite movements were by nature atomical with regards to screen refresh). Some modern graphics adapters use a hardware sprite to draw the mouse cursor.
See also BOB ("blitter object").
Nowadays, most games use polygons instead of sprites, which enables them to model better 3D effects and realistic movement. However, sprites are still widely-used in handheld systems and by amateur game makers. Modern 3D graphics programmers sometimes use the term "sprite" to refer specifically to a flat object with an animated texture.
see also sprite comic