phosphorescence

noun
phos·​pho·​res·​cence | \ ˌfäs-fə-ˈre-sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce phosphorescence (audio) \

Definition of phosphorescence

1 : luminescence that is caused by the absorption of radiations (such as light or electrons) and continues for a noticeable time after these radiations have stopped — compare fluorescence
2 : an enduring luminescence without sensible heat

Examples of phosphorescence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

All things are one thing and that one thing is all things—plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. Smithsonian, "John Steinbeck’s Epic Ocean Voyage Rewrote the Rules of Ecology," 22 Aug. 2019 On one overnight trip across the Channel, the ship’s paddle wheels churned up the glowing phosphorescence in the water, leaving a visible wake that made the 180-foot ship an easy target for German bombers. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The True Story of Dunkirk, As Told Through the Heroism of the “Medway Queen”," 19 July 2017 On one overnight trip across the Channel, the ship’s paddle wheels churned up the glowing phosphorescence in the water, leaving a visible wake that made the 180-foot ship an easy target for German bombers. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The True Story of Dunkirk, As Told Through the Heroism of the “Medway Queen”," 19 July 2017 Digging my hands through the water left sparkly white trails — what Igel calls pixie dust — because of phosphorescence in the water. Jared Whitlock And Donald Miralle, New York Times, "It’s a Nice Night for Surfing. Beware of Sharks.," 21 Apr. 2017 In short (super-short), the difference between fluorescence and phosphorescence is time. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "Blue laser awesomeness," 13 May 2010 Then came April and the buds on tree branches took on an immature phosphorescence. Stephanie Mannatt Danler, Esquire, "Why Nothing Beats That First Warm Day of Spring," 28 Apr. 2017

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

1770, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Statistics for phosphorescence

Last Updated

30 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for phosphorescence

The first known use of phosphorescence was in 1770

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More Definitions for phosphorescence

phosphorescence

noun
phos·​pho·​res·​cence | \ -ˈres-ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce phosphorescence (audio) \

Medical Definition of phosphorescence

1 : luminescence that is caused by the absorption of radiation at one wavelength followed by delayed reradiation at a different wavelength and that continues for a noticeable time after the incident radiation stops
2 : an enduring luminescence without sensible heat

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More from Merriam-Webster on phosphorescence

Spanish Central: Translation of phosphorescence

Nglish: Translation of phosphorescence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about phosphorescence

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