lu·​cu·​bra·​tion | \ ˌlü-kyə-ˈbrā-shən How to pronounce lucubration (audio) , ˌlü-kə- \

Definition of lucubration

: laborious or intensive study also : the product of such study usually used in plural

Did you know?

Imagine someone studying through the night by the light of a dim candle or lamp. That image demonstrates perfectly the most literal sense of lucubration. Our English word derives from the Latin verb lucubrare, meaning "to work by lamplight." (That Latin root is related to lux, the Latin word for "light.") In its earliest known English uses, lucubration named both nocturnal study itself and a written product thereof. By the 1800s, however, the term had been broadened to refer to any intensive study (day or night), or a composition, especially a weighty one, generated as a result of such study. Nowadays, lucubration is most often used in its plural form and implies pompous or stuffy scholarly writing.

First Known Use of lucubration

1595, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lucubration

Latin lucubration-, lucubratio study by night, work produced at night, from lucubrare to work by lamplight; akin to Latin luc-, lux

Learn More About lucubration

Time Traveler for lucubration

Time Traveler

The first known use of lucubration was in 1595

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About lucubration

Dictionary Entries Near lucubration




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for lucubration

Cite this Entry

“Lucubration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on lucubration

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lucubration


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!