incandescent

adjective
in·can·des·cent | \ˌin-kən-ˈde-sᵊnt also -(ˌ)kan- \

Definition of incandescent 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : white, glowing, or luminous with intense heat

b : strikingly bright, radiant, or clear

c : marked by brilliance especially of expression incandescent wit

d : characterized by glowing zeal : ardent incandescent affection

2a : of, relating to, or being light produced by incandescence

b : producing light by incandescence

incandescent

noun

Definition of incandescent (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from incandescent

Adjective

incandescently adverb

Did You Know?

Adjective

Incandescent came into the English language toward the end of the 18th century, at a time when scientific experiments involving heat and light were being conducted on an increasingly frequent basis. An object that glowed at a high temperature (such as a piece of coal) was "incandescent." By the mid-1800s, the incandescent lamp - a.k.a. the "lightbulb" - had been invented; it contains a filament which gives off light when heated by an electric current. "Incandescent" is the modern offspring of a much older parent, the Latin verb candēre, meaning "to glow." Centuries earlier, the word for another source of light, "candle," was also derived from "candēre."

Examples of incandescent in a Sentence

Adjective

sitting in darkness, except for the incandescent coals of our campfire a speaker incandescent with righteous anger over the treatment of the refugees

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There was the rivalry between stars Chevy Chase and Murray, the incandescent rage of sitcom staple Ted Knight fueled by the cast’s merry pranksters of improv and cocaine. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "From Joyce Carol Oates to 'Caddyshack' and the Cubs, Printers Row Lit Fest hit a thoughtful groove," 9 June 2018 The team is made in his image: scrappy, accountable, occasionally incandescent. Marcus Hayes, Philly.com, "Flyers' Giroux, Voracek, and Simmonds disappeared in playoffs, but they'll return | Marcus Hayes," 23 Apr. 2018 Smith’s face, as usual, was bisected by an incandescent smile. Joe Drape, New York Times, "At 52, Mike Smith Has the Ride of His Life," 9 June 2018 And much is lost through the use of inefficient devices, like incandescent light bulbs that heat up a filament to produce light. David Roberts, Vox, "This technology could fundamentally change our relationship to electricity," 5 June 2018 The finale, with its breathtakingly fast tempo, was incandescent. Zachary Lewis, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Orchestra keeps the flame burning as 'The Prometheus Project' continues (review)," 14 May 2018 On May 3rd, incandescent lava began oozing from Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano, forming glowing streams of molten rock. Maya Wei-haas, Smithsonian, "A Brief Glossary of Volcano Vocab," 25 May 2018 That’s like the ocean powered two 100 watt incandescent lightbulbs for every square meter of the Gulf of Mexico… for a month. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Hurricane Harvey was fueled by record heat in the Gulf of Mexico," 10 May 2018 Nakamura, who holds more than 200 US patents, received the Nobel prize along with two other scientists for inventing blue light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, which produce light 90 percent more efficiently than incandescent light bulbs. Julia Preszler, BostonGlobe.com, "An honorary degree, a new Tony C’s, and a talk on Antarctica," 20 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Debbie, incandescent with rage, confronted Ruth in the warehouse where GLOW was rehearsing, prompting the show’s wily director, Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), to imagine how sparks might fly between the two women in the ring. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Love Story of Debbie and Ruth," 10 July 2018 Here Gilpin shone at his most incandescent, piling sheer fantasy built on pseudo-science and hope ever higher. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 In the early 2000s, the replacement of old-school incandescent lights with LEDs largely rendered the Clark Griswold-style of massive though static displays obsolete. Bill Bannks, ajc, "Tony Paradowski, 60: Decatur’s maestro of Christmas-light magic," 22 June 2018 Volcanoes have a lot of ways to kill people—caustic ash, superheated hurricane-like pyroclastic flows, incandescent mudslides called lahars...and, of course, lava. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "The Implacable Power of Volcanic Lava," 10 May 2018 On one side of the room, a floor-to-ceiling window overlooks the incandescent buzz of the Apparatus Room below. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Chef’s Table in downtown Detroit is our 2018 Restaurant of the Year," 16 Feb. 2018 And to be Marilyn Monroe was to be a star, incandescent and otherworldly, but also to be Norma Jean Baker, a human being, ordinary and dull, trapped inside a star. Lili Anolik, Vanities, "Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick: A Brief, White-Hot, and Totally Doomed Romance," 14 Dec. 2017 Christmas tree lights come in all sorts of varieties, from white to color and from LED to incandescent. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How to Put Lights on a Christmas Tree," 28 Sep. 2017 If that new LED lasts even a bit over a year, replacing the working incandescent today will still save you money. Severin Borenstein, The Mercury News, "Commentary: Incandescent light bulbs need to go in trash today," 10 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incandescent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of incandescent

Adjective

1794, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1900, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for incandescent

Adjective

probably from French, from Latin incandescent-, incandescens, present participle of incandescere to become hot, from in- + candescere to become hot, from candēre to glow — more at candid

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about incandescent

Share incandescent

Listen to Our Podcast about incandescent

Phrases Related to incandescent

incandescent light bulb

incandescent with rage

Statistics for incandescent

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for incandescent

The first known use of incandescent was in 1794

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for incandescent

incandescent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of incandescent

: white or glowing because of great heat

: producing bright light when heated

: very impressive, successful, or intelligent

incandescent

adjective
in·can·des·cent | \ˌin-kən-ˈde-sᵊnt \

Kids Definition of incandescent

: white or glowing with great heat

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on incandescent

What made you want to look up incandescent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!