Word of the Day : September 19, 2015


adjective in-kun-DESS-unt


1 a : white, glowing, or luminous with intense heat

b : marked by brilliance especially of expression

c : characterized by glowing zeal : ardent

2 a : of, relating to, or being light produced by incandescence

b : producing light by incandescence

Did You Know?

Incandescent came into the English language toward the end of the 18th century, at a time when scientific experiments involving heat and light were being conducted on an increasingly frequent basis. An object that glowed at a high temperature (such as a piece of coal) was "incandescent." By the mid-1800s, the incandescent lamp—a.k.a. the lightbulb—had been invented; it contains a filament which gives off light when heated by an electric current. Incandescent is the modern offspring of a much older parent, the Latin verb candēre, meaning "to glow." Centuries earlier, the word for another source of light, candle, was also derived from candēre.


The attic was lit by a single incandescent bulb, but that was all the light we needed to read the labels on the storage boxes.

"Anyone who's ever perused books of late-19th-century British art will instantly recognize the idyllic image of a young woman in a sheer, incandescent orange dress curled up in sleep on piles of drapery on a marble bench, with a sunstruck Mediterranean in the distance." — Ken Johnson, The New York Times, 11 June 2015

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