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

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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

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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Time Traveler for lambent

Time Traveler

The first known use of lambent was in 1647

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Cite this Entry

“Lambent.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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How to pronounce lambent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lambent

formal + literary
: shining or glowing softly
: having a light, appealing quality

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Comments on lambent

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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