in·​can·​des·​cent | \ ˌin-kən-ˈde-sᵊnt also -(ˌ)kan- How to pronounce incandescent (audio) \

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



Definition of incandescent (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from incandescent


incandescently adverb

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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


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

The most powerful hammer forge Sixty years ago, the Ladish Co. in Cudahy finished building its Number 85 Hammer, a multi-story, monster forge that pounds chunks of incandescent steel into shape between a pair of rams weighing 375,000 pounds each. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here are five cool things from the MSOE exhibition you might be surprised to learn were made in Milwaukee," 10 Sep. 2019 Although the regulations did not ban any bulbs outright, they were designed to phase out traditional incandescent bulbs in favour of more efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The Economist, "Donald Trump’s dim decision to scrap Obama-era lightbulb rules," 9 Sep. 2019 The rules being weakened, which dated from 2007 and the administration of President George W. Bush and slated to start in the new year, would have all but ended the era of the incandescent bulb invented more than a century ago. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's TML: You're in for a treat, Cincinnati fans. Positive thoughts on Bengals, UC, Reds.," 5 Sep. 2019 Like all artificial lighting, LED lights come in different color temperatures, and most experts recommend a color temperature of 2,400 to 3,000 K to achieve the warm glow of a traditional incandescent bulb. Richard A. Marini,, "How outdoor lighting can make your yard an inviting living space," 29 Aug. 2019 Golden chandeliers hang from the ceiling, emitting streaks of incandescent light. Clint Smith, The New Republic, "The Sound and Silence of Toni Morrison," 6 Aug. 2019 The energy-efficient lightbulbs are designed to imitate the iconic look of the incandescent bulbs developed by Thomas Edison almost a century and a half ago. Los Angeles Times, "UC Santa Barbara sues Walmart, Amazon and others over LED lightbulbs," 30 July 2019 LEDs use much less energy than incandescent bulbs, and will last for years. Ap Mcclatchy, The Mercury News, "Angie’s List: Outdoor lighting improves safety and aesthetics," 12 July 2019 Despite being just 1-2% of the strength of daylight, this ambient level of incandescent home lighting can have 50% of the melatonin-suppressing influence within the brain. Mayo Oshin, Quartzy, "Five scientifically proven ways to fall asleep faster," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Despite such efforts, the rules stayed; Edison-style incandescent bulbs continued to lose market share. The Economist, "Donald Trump’s dim decision to scrap Obama-era lightbulb rules," 9 Sep. 2019 In doing so, the administration is specifically following the wishes of various lightbulb manufacturers, who presumably still have viable production facilities dedicated to churning out incandescents. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "DOE has decided many lightbulbs don’t have to meet efficiency standards," 5 Sep. 2019 The news standards, which would have gradually phased out incandescent and halogen bulbs, were set to go into effect in January 2020. Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY, "2020 Democrats: Climate change comes off the backburner as White House hopefuls take on President Trump," 5 Sep. 2019 That regulation change was spun off of a 2007 law signed by President George W. Bush that aimed to gradually phase out energy inefficient bulbs like incandescent and halogen bulbs. Adam Edelman, NBC News, "Trump administration dims Obama-era lightbulb energy regulations," 4 Sep. 2019 The 2017 Obama regulations built upon a 2007 law passed during the George W. Bush administration that began phasing out the most inefficient incandescent and halogen bulbs. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, "Trump rolls back Obama-era regulations on energy-efficient light bulbs," 4 Sep. 2019 There would be no provocative politics or unseemly images; just snazzy matching outfits and unforgettable, surging sounds aching with longing and incandescent with joy. Peter Keough,, "Motown remembered, Halston refashioned, a rising star fallen," 15 Aug. 2019 However, halogens consume between 25 and 80 percent less electricity than incandescents, depending on the specific bulb. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "Let There Be Light: A Smart Buyer’s Guide to Light Bulbs," 14 June 2019 Some flashlights will only accept a small low-wattage incandescent bulb. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Smart Person's Guide To Avoiding Electrical Shock," 29 Apr. 2016

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.

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First Known Use of incandescent


1794, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1900, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for incandescent


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

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13 Sep 2019

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The first known use of incandescent was in 1794

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English Language Learners Definition of incandescent

: white or glowing because of great heat
: producing bright light when heated
: very impressive, successful, or intelligent


in·​can·​des·​cent | \ ˌin-kən-ˈde-sᵊnt How to pronounce incandescent (audio) \

Kids Definition of incandescent

: white or glowing with great heat

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with incandescent

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Spanish Central: Translation of incandescent

Nglish: Translation of incandescent for Spanish Speakers

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to spread over or through

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