Vesicular secretion of neurotransmitter is essential for neuronal communication. Kiss-and-run is a mode of membrane fusion and retrieval without the full collapse of the vesicle into the plasma membrane and de novo regeneration. The importance of kiss-and-run during efficient neurotransmission has remained in doubt. We developed an approach for loading individual synaptic vesicles with single quantum dots. Their size and pH-dependent photoluminescence change allowed us to distinguish kiss-and-run from full-collapse fusion and to track single vesicles through multiple rounds of kiss-and-run and reuse, without perturbing vesicle cycling. Kiss-and-run dominated at the beginning of stimulus trains, reflecting the preference of vesicles with high release probability. Its incidence was increased by rapid firing, a response appropriate to shape the kinetics of neurotransmission during a wide range of firing patterns.