can·​dle | \ ˈkan-dᵊl How to pronounce candle (audio) \
plural candles

Definition of candle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually molded or dipped mass of wax or tallow containing a wick that may be burned (as to give light, heat, or scent or for celebration or votive purposes)
2 : something resembling a candle in shape or use a sulfur candle for fumigating
3 : required effort, expense, or trouble usually used in the phrase not worth the candle
4 : candela
5 : a thin, upright new shoot forming from a terminal bud on a pine tree in the spring Pines grow from the branch tips, which elongate into "candles" in spring, then fatten into mature, needle-covered branches. To minimize pine growth, just pinch off the ends of the candles.— Jim McCausland et al.


candled; candling\ ˈkan(d)-​liŋ How to pronounce candle (audio) , ˈkan-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of candle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to examine by holding between the eye and a light especially : to test (eggs) in this way for staleness, blood clots, fertility, and growth

Other Words from candle


candler \ ˈkan(d)-​lər How to pronounce candle (audio) , ˈkan-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Examples of candle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Last weekend's storm put the spotlight on questionable labor practices at a candle factory after a monstrous tornado tore through the building, killing eight workers and injuring many more. NBC News, 19 Dec. 2021 Workers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Kentucky candle factory where eight people died in a tornado., 17 Dec. 2021 For roughly two decades, Mayfield’s candle factory was a showcase of homespun entrepreneurialism. New York Times, 16 Dec. 2021 The Mayfield candle factory was one of the most devastated sites in an outbreak of at least 30 tornadoes across six states in the Midwest and South. Eric Levenson, CNN, 27 Feb. 2022 At Mayfield Consumer Products, for example – the candle factory that attracted national scrutiny after nine workers died when the complex was struck by the tornado – hourly wages started at $8. Nick Roll, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Feb. 2022 In Graves County, where Mayfield is, the tornado killed 23 people — nine of which died when the twister demolished a candle factory. Krista Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 11 Jan. 2022 Earlier this month, six people died at an Amazon warehouse, in Illinois, and another eight workers were killed at a candle factory, in Kentucky, after the facilities were hit by a tornado. Lizzie Widdicombe, The New Yorker, 31 Dec. 2021 Sheriff's deputies received a report of suspicious activity on Friday afternoon just half a mile away from a candle factory that was leveled during the tornadoes, leaving eight people dead. Paul Best, Fox News, 20 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Nine people died who were working at the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory the night of the storm. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, 27 Dec. 2021 Used to check on the general overall health of the egg, candling shines a bright light (not a candle) through the bottom of the egg. Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2019 All of your prayers and well wishes and candles got me through today. Ashley Iasimone, Billboard, 4 Feb. 2018 Going through thousands of profiles is like candling eggs — so many inspections to make: Age, race, religion, height and weight appropriate? Stu Bykofsky,, 10 Aug. 2017 Her father hired me during the Easter rush to work with Sharlene gathering, cleaning and candling eggs. Janet Sheridan, The Denver Post, 12 Apr. 2017 See More

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

First Known Use of candle


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1879, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for candle


Middle English candel, from Old English, from Latin candela, from candēre

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Time Traveler for candle

Time Traveler

The first known use of candle was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near candle

C and LC


candle alder

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Statistics for candle

Last Updated

21 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Candle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for candle


can·​dle | \ ˈkan-dᵊl How to pronounce candle (audio) \

Kids Definition of candle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a stick of tallow or wax containing a wick and burned to give light


candled; candling

Kids Definition of candle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to examine (an egg) by holding between the eye and a light

Other Words from candle

candler noun


can·​dle | \ ˈkan-dᵊl How to pronounce candle (audio) \

Medical Definition of candle

1 : a medicated candle or lozenge used for fumigation
2 : candela


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