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[lam-buh nt] /ˈlæm bənt/
running or moving lightly over a surface:
lambent tongues of flame.
dealing lightly and gracefully with a subject; brilliantly playful:
lambent wit.
softly bright or radiant:
a lambent light.
Origin of lambent
1640-50; < Latin lambent- (stem of lambēns) lapping, present participle of lambere to lick, wash (said of water or fire); akin to lap3; see -ent
Related forms
lambently, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for lambent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His golden zodiac, no longer tarnished and dull, ran with sun flames; the wondrous rose was a racing, lambent miracle.

    The Metal Monster A. Merritt
  • A sudden tremor seemed to shake the lambent flame that had lured him on.

  • A lambent light was born in the darkness; it rose slowly, unsteadily, to a great height, and died.

    The Devil Doctor Sax Rohmer
  • This time he might return, immaculate, from the path of that "lambent flamelet."

    Browning's Heroines Ethel Colburn Mayne
  • She smiled again in that lambent heat-lightning way of hers.

    Command William McFee
  • Just as we were parting at the door, Helen turned full on me her great, lambent eyes.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • The lights slowly brightened to no more than the lambent glow which was all that Ninon permitted.

    Time and the Woman G. Gordon Dewey
  • Their eyes are luminous and lambent, but it is a melancholy light.

  • Valbroso's hand dived into the chest, came out with a great pulsing crimson sphere that filled the room with a lambent glow.

    The Hour of the Dragon Robert E. Howard
British Dictionary definitions for lambent


(esp of a flame) flickering softly over a surface
glowing with soft radiance
(of wit or humour) light or brilliant
Derived Forms
lambency, noun
lambently, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from the present participle of Latin lambere to lick
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 lambent

1640s, from figurative use of Latin lambentem (nominative lambens), present participle of lambere "to lick," from PIE root *lab-, indicative of smacking lips or licking (cf. Greek laptein "to sip, lick," Old English lapian "to lick, lap up, suck;" see lap (v.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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