noun, often attributive
lan·​tern | \ ˈlan-tərn How to pronounce lantern (audio) \

Definition of lantern

1 : a usually portable protective case for a light with transparent openings — compare chinese lantern
2a obsolete : lighthouse
b : the chamber in a lighthouse containing the light
c : a structure with glazed or open sides above an opening in a roof for light or ventilation
d : a small tower or cupola or one stage of a cupola

Examples of lantern in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As Folkestone is a landing place for refugees, the lantern could be seen as a welcoming beacon. Joanne Shurvell, Forbes, 3 Sep. 2021 Artists HoyCheong Wong, Simon Davenport and Shahed Saleem have created a multi-colored marvel to go on top: a giant lantern of acrylic panels that light up at night. Joanne Shurvell, Forbes, 3 Sep. 2021 The city comes alive with vibrant decorations, special food, and an amazing lantern display. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 16 Aug. 2021 Upgrade your old jack o'lantern with this fun lantern instead. Sanah Faroke, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 Aug. 2021 Hung on the side of your home, this chandelier-style lantern creates the perfect mood for relaxing under the stars. Giovana Gelhoren, Country Living, 30 July 2021 Suspended from the center of one dining room is an oversized paper lantern, not quite Noguchi (a bit plumper, with the most minimal of tassels hanging from it’s center). Camille Okhio, Vogue, 17 Aug. 2021 The night watchman’s camera-toting flock of 30 tourists, already charmed, follows his bobbing lantern down the narrow, cobbled lane. Rick Steves,, 30 July 2021 Other notable pieces include the custom Tritter Feefer table in the breakfast nook, blue Janus et Cie chairs, a white vintage hanging lantern from Chairish, and fabrics by Perennials. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 29 July 2021

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lantern

Middle English lanterne, from Anglo-French, from Latin lanterna, from Greek lamptēr, from lampein to shine — more at lamp

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Learn More About lantern

Time Traveler for lantern

Time Traveler

The first known use of lantern was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near lantern



lantern clock

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Last Updated

25 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lantern.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for lantern



English Language Learners Definition of lantern

: a light that has usually a glass covering and that can be carried by a handle


lan·​tern | \ ˈlan-tərn How to pronounce lantern (audio) \

Kids Definition of lantern

: a usually portable lamp with a protective covering


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