search·​light ˈsərch-ˌlīt How to pronounce searchlight (audio)
: 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 After two hours of work, paused only when one of the German searchlights floated over their position or the moon shone too brightly between the clouds, Scott and McIntyre finished their task. Myke Cole and Michael Livingston, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Feb. 2024 The Bangladeshi British food writer’s latest cookbook feels almost like a cluster of searchlights playing over the vast terrain of Bangladesh; her dishes ally to the six seasons of summer, monsoon, autumn, late autumn, winter, and spring. Meher Mirza, Vogue, 5 Dec. 2023 Images suggest that defenders with searchlights and machineguns are shooting down some Shaheds. David Hambling, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 When the aft searchlight came on, Lieutenant Walsh saw what had rocked the craft: the explosive cracking of a plastic window. William J. Broad, New York Times, 18 Nov. 2023 His iteration of The New Republic did not fare well, in the rearview mirror, under the inquisitive searchlights of #MeToo and Black Lives Matter. Dwight Garner, New York Times, 2 Oct. 2023 After the Manhattan Project commandeered the mine in 1943 and forced miners to work round-the-clock shifts in the open pit under searchlights, the mine’s name was formally interdicted from reproduction and erased from maps. Roger Peet, The New Republic, 30 Aug. 2023 It is equipped with an array of sophisticated sensors, including cameras, radar and a searchlight for illuminating objects on the ground. Joby Warrick, Anchorage Daily News, 19 July 2023 Some older Russian vehicles still rely on active infrared searchlights, which light up the vehicles using them with potentially fatal results. Sébastien Roblin, Popular Mechanics, 25 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'searchlight.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1883, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of searchlight was in 1883

Dictionary Entries Near searchlight

Cite this Entry

“Searchlight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


search·​light ˈsərch-ˌlīt How to pronounce searchlight (audio)
: a device for casting a beam of light
also : a beam of light cast by it

More from Merriam-Webster on searchlight

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