Definition of luciferin
: any of various organic substances in luminescent organisms (as fireflies) that upon oxidation produce a virtually heatless light
Did You Know?
Luciferin got its name from the Latin word lucifer (meaning "light-bearing"), which is also a source of the word that is sometimes used as a name of the devil. We won't go into how Lucifer came to be called by that name-suffice it to say he wasn't always associated with darkness-but we will look a bit more closely at the Latin word lucifer. It comes from Latin luc-, meaning "light," plus -fer, meaning "bearing" or "producing." Additional relatives include the nontechnical adjective luciferous, meaning "bringing light or insight," and luciferase, the enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of luciferin.
Origin of luciferin
International Scientific Vocabulary, from Latin lucifer light-bearing
First Known Use: 1888
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up luciferin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).