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[bahy-oh-loo-muh-nes-uh ns] /ˌbaɪ oʊˌlu məˈnɛs əns/
the production of light by living organisms.
Origin of bioluminescence
1915-20; bio- + luminescence
Related forms
bioluminescent, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bioluminescence
  • They can compost an elephant, fertilize an oak forest or light up the oceans in the eerie teal glow of bioluminescence.
  • Snorkelers can delight in bioluminescence at night for a mystical experience.
  • bioluminescence is rare in the animal kingdom, known only in a few species of cephalopods.
  • More recently they have lowered cameras on cables and measured the bioluminescence on display beneath the waves.
  • bioluminescence is found in every ocean, in every sea, from surface to seafloor.
  • All the bioluminescence glows in the dark and the eyes glow as well.
  • bioluminescence helps some deep-sea beasts find prey.
  • Special demonstrations held every day will show you the science behind bioluminescence and how germs are spread between people.
  • Skin cells taken from the volunteers were cultured in the lab and injected with a bioluminescence gene found in fireflies.
  • Glowworms are tiny insects that attract prey into sticky, single-strand webs through bioluminescence, a cool blue neon glow.
British Dictionary definitions for bioluminescence


the production of light by living organisms as a result of the oxidation of a light-producing substance (luciferin) by the enzyme luciferase: occurs in many marine organisms, insects such as the firefly, etc
Derived Forms
bioluminescent, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bioluminescence

also bio-luminescence, 1909; see bio- + luminescence.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bioluminescence in Science
The emission of light by living organisms, such as fireflies, glowworms, and certain fish, jellyfish, plankton, fungi, and bacteria. It occurs when a pigment (usually luciferin) is oxidized without giving off heat. Although it is believed that bioluminescence is involved in animal communication, its function in many organisms has yet to be understood. Bioluminescence is a form of chemiluminescence. Compare chemiluminescence.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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