noun, often attributive
lan·​tern | \ ˈlan-tərn How to pronounce lantern (audio) \

Definition of lantern

1 : a usually portable protective case for a light with transparent openings — compare chinese lantern
2a obsolete : lighthouse
b : the chamber in a lighthouse containing the light
c : a structure with glazed or open sides above an opening in a roof for light or ventilation
d : a small tower or cupola or one stage of a cupola

Examples of lantern in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Decorative lanterns illuminated the colorful display of silks dawned on every guest at the chatty table. Eliseé Browchuk, Vogue, "Yali Hosted a Chinese New Year Dinner and All the Guests Wore Robes," 6 Feb. 2019 White ping-pong balls or pieces of cloth are fixed to the end of the poles to help anglers detect strikes after dark in the soft glow of lantern light. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "They love fishing, so they set cabins afloat: Wolf River rafts are 'home' to some anglers," 20 June 2018 The paths are packed with these late night parties as the blossoms glow in lantern lights. Washington Post, "To compete with Japan’s cherry blossom bacchanal, D.C. needs to step up its game. Big time.," 2 Apr. 2018 Gorgeous Glow The glowing light of a lantern adds an instantly welcoming vibe to an outdoor space. Alejandra Bennett, Sunset, "10 Modern Must-Haves to Add Flair to Your Yard," 22 Jan. 2018 For Oquendo, having a storage unit full of makeup—with fairy lights and decorative lanterns to boot—was a necessity. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Go Inside Celebrity Makeup Artist Vincent Oquendo's Dreamy Beauty Stash," 23 Oct. 2018 Light up your lawn and walkway with one or several of these festive lanterns or luminary bags. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Home Depot's New Hauntingly Cool Halloween Decorations Are Here," 7 Aug. 2018 Be intrigued by Nezu's exquisite Japanese garden with its rolling slopes, stepping stones, tea houses and an extensive collection of stone lanterns perfectly placed throughout the colorful fauna. Scott Gilman, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Japan," 5 Oct. 2016 Beyond hanging lanterns and giving (or receiving) envelopes in the symbolic shades, why not incorporate them into your beauty routine, too? Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "Happy Chinese New Year! 10 Red and Gold Beauty Products for Celebrating the Spring Festival," 2 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lantern.' 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 lantern

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lantern

Middle English lanterne, from Anglo-French, from Latin lanterna, from Greek lamptēr, from lampein to shine — more at lamp

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Statistics for lantern

Last Updated

27 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for lantern

The first known use of lantern was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for lantern



English Language Learners Definition of lantern

: a light that has usually a glass covering and that can be carried by a handle


lan·​tern | \ ˈlan-tərn How to pronounce lantern (audio) \

Kids Definition of lantern

: a usually portable lamp with a protective covering

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Comments on lantern

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


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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