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 The rechargeable, outdoor LED camping lantern ($33.99/pack of 2) provides high/low brightness and a 360-degree beam to brighten up a tent. cleveland, 10 June 2022 The crew lit a red lantern, a signal of distress, and the USS Rhode Island, the aid of tug, deployed their lifeboats. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 21 May 2022 Even more than 150 years later, the apocryphal tale of a family cow kicking over a lantern in the barn on DeKoven Street has haunted several generations of O’Learys and made their name synonymous with the city’s destruction. Kori Rumore,, 10 Mar. 2022 Easy to pack and store, the lantern is collapsible and lightweight. Isabel Garcia,, 27 Feb. 2022 In the weeks leading up to this year’s parade, Chantelle leads nine lantern-making workshops around town. Suzanne Van Atten, ajc, 12 Oct. 2013 The scene: Eva, ahem, receives amid the glow of an oil lantern. Deanna Janes, Harper's BAZAAR, 25 May 2022 Simply glue feather boas to the paper lantern to turn it into an airy dining room focal point. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 9 May 2022 Inspiration struck when the local farmer serving as his guide swung the lantern inside the cave. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for lantern

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near lantern



lantern clock

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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lantern.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for lantern


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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