search·​light | \ ˈsərch-ˌlīt How to pronounce searchlight (audio) \

Definition of searchlight

: an apparatus for projecting a powerful beam of light also : a beam of light projected by it

Examples of searchlight in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The hotel was part of a complex that included a 40-room chalet, small zoo, an observatory and the searchlight from the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times, "Come for Echo Mountain’s tough terrain. Stay for the rich L.A. history," 13 Mar. 2021 On each of the three E’s, the pandemic has acted as a combination of unforgiving stress test and high-powered searchlight. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, "Post-pandemic, will the world think big, or just get by?," 3 Mar. 2021 Stoppard has long been a tabloid fixture in England; the spotlight on his relationships sometimes became a searchlight. New York Times, "‘Tom Stoppard’ Tells of an Enormous Life Spent in Constant Motion," 15 Feb. 2021 The searchlight fell upon a pair of heads and shoulders rising above the water. New York Times, "Risking Everything to Come to America on the Open Ocean," 28 Jan. 2021 The searchlight is so bright that there is no such thing, any more, as obscurity. New York Times, "Moisés Caicedo and the Perils of Too Much Interest," 21 Jan. 2021 The Ferry Building was outlined in colored lights, and a huge searchlight played upon the flag atop it. Gary Kamiya,, "S.F.’s rebirth from disaster was an occasion to party 24/7," 22 Jan. 2021 Her voice cuts through these cloudy soundscapes like a searchlight. Washington Post, "For composer Molly Joyce, disability is no barrier to virtuosity," 13 Dec. 2020 The New York Herald used a searchlight at Madison Square Garden and pointed it toward Brooklyn to announce Cleveland’s victory. Mike Conway, The Conversation, "Election night has been a big media event since electric lights first announced the winner in 1892," 3 Nov. 2020

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

1883, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for searchlight

Time Traveler

The first known use of searchlight was in 1883

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Statistics for searchlight

Last Updated

28 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Searchlight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for searchlight



English Language Learners Definition of searchlight

: a very bright light that can be aimed in different directions and that is used to find people or things in the dark


search·​light | \ ˈsərch-ˌlīt How to pronounce searchlight (audio) \

Kids Definition of searchlight

: a lamp for sending a beam of bright light

More from Merriam-Webster on searchlight

Nglish: Translation of searchlight for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about searchlight

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