lam·​bent | \ ˈlam-bənt How to pronounce lambent (audio) \

Definition of lambent

1 : playing lightly on or over a surface : flickering
2 : softly bright or radiant
3 : marked by lightness or brilliance especially of expression

Other Words from lambent

lambently adverb

Lambent and Flames

Fire is frequently associated with lapping or licking imagery: flames are often described as "tongues" that "lick." Lambent, which first appeared in English in the 17th century, is a part of this tradition, coming from lambens, the present participle of the Latin verb lambere, meaning "to lick." In its earliest uses, lambent meant "playing lightly over a surface," "gliding over," or "flickering." These uses were usually applied to flames or light, and by way of that association, the term eventually came to describe things with a radiant or brilliant glow, as Alexander Pope used it in his 1717 poem "Eloisa to Abelard": "Those smiling eyes, attemp'ring ev'ry ray, Shone sweetly lambent with celestial day."

Examples of lambent in a Sentence

lambent sunlight glinting off the waves a writer known for her lambent wit
Recent Examples on the Web Within minutes the profile of the 2021 vintage emerged: bright and lambent acidity integrated with spry aromas of slightly wild red fruits—country lane strawberries and young raspberries—before a background of subtle, silky tannins. Tom Mullen, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2022 In the mouth, a powerhouse of scintillating flavors—precise, clean, vibrant—provide a rich, layered, lambent dessert wine. Tom Mullen, Forbes, 31 Oct. 2021 Silky tannins, lambent red fruit flavors—cherries, raspberries, light plums, passionfruit. Tom Mullen, Forbes, 31 Oct. 2021 The lambent bass of René Pape, who performed the title role, has been mesmerizing Met audiences for nearly thirty years. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 11 Oct. 2021 Principal oboe John Ferrillo also deserves special mention for the glowing, lambent beauty of his solo to open the slow movement., 9 Aug. 2021 The objects around me are lambent with significance. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 26 Apr. 2021 Yet this depth of character and vision flows through the lambent light of the French countryside and the social whirl of energized encounters; the movie’s leap between the trivial and the transcendent is wondrous. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 20 Mar. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of lambent

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lambent

Latin lambent-, lambens, present participle of lambere to lick — more at lap

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The first known use of lambent was in 1647

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Last Updated

22 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lambent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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