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lantern

[lan-tern] /ˈlæn tərn/
noun
1.
a transparent or translucent, usually portable, case for enclosing a light and protecting it from the wind, rain, etc.
2.
the chamber at the top of a lighthouse, surrounding the light.
4.
Architecture.
  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.
5.
a light, usually over the entrance to an elevator on each floor of a multistory building, that signals the approach of the elevator.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English lanterne < Latin lanterna (< Etruscan) < Greek lamptḗr lamp, light
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for lanterns

lantern

/ˈlæntən/
noun
1.
a light with a transparent or translucent protective case
2.
a structure on top of a dome or roof having openings or windows to admit light or air
3.
the upper part of a lighthouse that houses the light
4.
(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 lanterns

lantern

n.

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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Encyclopedia Article for lanterns

lantern

in architecture, originally an openwork timber construction placed on top of a building to admit light and allow smoke to escape. Something of this idea persists in medieval examples such as the lantern above the central octagon of Ely Cathedral (14th century). The term lantern soon came to refer to the open top story of a tower, because such a construction resembled a lamp container and because beacons were occasionally placed there.

Learn more about lantern with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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