lu·​mi·​nes·​cence ˌlü-mə-ˈne-sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce luminescence (audio)
: the low-temperature emission of light (as by a chemical or physiological process)
also : light produced by luminescence
luminescent adjective

Example Sentences

the luminescence of the watch we could see inside the cave even without a flashlight because of the luminescence coming from some of the fungus on the walls
Recent Examples on the Web Concept art also hinted that the ride would have a bit of a magical, otherworldly feel, as parts glowed purple and fauna in the water had a brilliant, pink luminescence. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, 11 Sep. 2022 These varying tones of blonde add a natural luminescence as well as dimension to the hair. Darcy Brown,, 26 July 2022 The silhouette of the shark appears on the white rubber strap and, in the dark, lights up thanks to the luminescence injected into it. Roberta Naas, Forbes, 18 July 2022 Clouds above, snow below; hazy gray luminescence between shrouding villages and homesteads, churches, skeletal trees, and vacant fields. Jonathon Ramsey, Car and Driver, 8 July 2022 The light has that sparkling luminescence of the coast. James Stewart, Robb Report, 23 Apr. 2022 Second only to Lynskey in luminescence in this movie is Wood, whose Tony named his dog Kevin and specializes in nunchucks and ninja stars. Gwen Ihnat,, 13 June 2022 What about Vavilov’s brother Sergei Vavilov, a physicist who studied luminescence and contributed his expertise to Soviet nuclear physics? Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 7 June 2022 The only glow comes from the luminescence of rockets arcing across the sky. New York Times, 18 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'luminescence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary lumin- + -escence

First Known Use

1889, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of luminescence was in 1889

Dictionary Entries Near luminescence

Cite this Entry

“Luminescence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



lu·​mi·​nes·​cence ˌlü-mə-ˈnes-ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce luminescence (audio)
: the giving off of light at low temperatures especially as part of a chemical process (as of the body)
also : such light

Medical Definition



lu·​mi·​nes·​cence ˌlü-mə-ˈnes-ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce luminescence (audio)
: the low-temperature emission of light produced especially by physiological processes (as in the firefly), by chemical action, by friction, or by electrical action
also : light produced by luminescence
luminesce intransitive verb
luminesced; luminescing
luminescent adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on luminescence

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