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

One photo shows Irby, Schreiber, Hey and Wyrosdick sitting in a stairwell in football jerseys, next to a lit jack-o-lantern. Rachel Swan,, "25-year-old man killed at Gilroy Garlic Festival remembered as an athlete with a big heart," 29 July 2019 This year’s festival, presented by Cleveland Clinic Children’s, features more than 40 all-new, large-scale illuminated, multi-lantern creations by Chicago’s Tianyu Arts and Culture firm. Laura Demarco,, "Asian Lantern Festival at Cleveland Zoo extended for two weeks," 22 July 2019 Whale sharks, the largest fish species on Earth, can grow to more than 55 feet, while dwarf lantern sharks reach a mere eight inches. National Geographic, "Sharks," 22 July 2019 The street itself was lit by lantern-like fixtures as if Essex were determined to remain in the Colonial era. Elizabeth Poliner,, "2019 Algren Awards: Finalist: Sabelle," 20 July 2019 This hallway never appears in the lantern slide show. Longreads, "A Minor Figure," 20 July 2019 Alligator eyes in the black canals reflected our light back to us like the lantern eyes of demons. Gena Steffens, Smithsonian, "The Snakes That Ate Florida," 11 July 2019 More than 30 vintage stone lanterns were moved out of harm’s way. Emily Young, Los Angeles Times, "Beloved Japanese garden reopens at Lotusland in Montecito — but good luck getting in," 26 July 2019 Hoyt likes to mix and match shapes and colors and advises buying one lantern that has an interesting design element, such as intricate cutouts. Helen Carefoot, Twin Cities, "Don’t let a small balcony stop you from enjoying the space," 15 July 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

14 Aug 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).


of or relating to the heavens

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