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[lan-tern] /ˈlæn tərn/
a transparent or translucent, usually portable, case for enclosing a light and protecting it from the wind, rain, etc.
the chamber at the top of a lighthouse, surrounding the light.
  1. a tall, more or less open construction admitting light to an enclosed area below.
  2. any light, decorative structure of relatively small size crowning a roof, dome, etc.
  3. an open-sided structure on a roof to let out smoke or to assist ventilation.
a light, usually over the entrance to an elevator on each floor of a multistory building, that signals the approach of the elevator.
Origin of lantern
1250-1300; Middle English lanterne < Latin lanterna (< Etruscan) < Greek lamptḗr lamp, light Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lantern
  • Design a nook with an outdoor rug, paper lantern, and comfortable cushions.
  • The single-story bungalow was lit by a battery-powered camping lantern.
  • With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.
  • It was an enormous crimson lantern, nearly as big as a fireplace, fixed over a small but heavy iron door.
  • He had chubby cheeks and a jack-o'-lantern's triangular nose.
  • Because their lantern was so diffuse, they were able to notice stimuli on a much vaster sensory stage.
  • She would warn the bootleggers if the agents were in town by standing on the balcony and swinging a lantern.
  • When heated, thorium oxide glows bright white, a property that makes it useful in lantern mantles.
  • The tower served principally as a support for the a lantern which housed the light.
British Dictionary definitions for lantern


a light with a transparent or translucent protective case
a structure on top of a dome or roof having openings or windows to admit light or air
the upper part of a lighthouse that houses the light
(photog) short for magic lantern
Word Origin
C13: from Latin lanterna, from Greek lamptēr lamp, from lampein to shine
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 lantern

mid-13c., from Old French lanterne "lamp, lantern, light" (12c.), from Latin lanterna "lantern, lamp, torch," altered (by influence of Latin lucerna "lamp") from Greek lampter "torch," from lampein "to shine" (see lamp). Variant lanthorn (16c.-19c.) was folk etymology based on the common use of horn as a translucent cover. Lantern-jaws "hollow, long cheeks" is from a resemblance noted since at least mid-14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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