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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 bioluminescent
  • Our future may hold safe bioluminescent beer and champagne.
  • The lagoon is one of only five bioluminescent bays in the world.
  • Most of these species have bioluminescent organs on their sides called photophores.
  • Instead the fish is on the lookout for flickers of bioluminescent light produced by prey or predators.
  • Wonder how they'd look covered with the bioluminescent material instead of merely lit by it.
  • In the open ocean bioluminescent organisms fitfully brighten the watery depths with their otherworldly sparkle and glow.
  • In the cold and dark depths of the seas, some fish attract their prey with bioluminescent lures.
  • About half of all jellyfish species are bioluminescent-and nearly all deep-sea jellies have this ability.
  • On dark summer evenings, kayaks form a stream of glowing green as they ply the bioluminescent waters.
  • Bizarre fish with sensitive eyes, translucent fangs, and bioluminescent lures lurk about in nearby waters.
British Dictionary definitions for bioluminescent


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 bioluminescent

also bio-luminescent, 1929; see bioluminescence.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bioluminescent 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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