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[surch-lahyt] /ˈsɜrtʃˌlaɪt/
a device, usually consisting of a light and reflector, for throwing a beam of light in any direction.
a beam of light so thrown.
1880-85; search + light1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for searchlight
  • Imagine trying to spot a moth flying around the rim of a searchlight.
  • As long as it provides enough light to see, it doesn't have to be a searchlight.
  • The searchlight beams on the right had picked up an enemy raider.
  • As the machine's name implies, its beam will be continuous and will resemble a powerful searchlight rather than a strobe lamp.
  • Adding to the scrum, a helicopter circles overhead with its searchlight turned on the crowd.
British Dictionary definitions for searchlight


a device, consisting of a light source and a reflecting surface behind it, that projects a powerful beam of light in a particular direction
the beam of light produced by such a device
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 searchlight

also search-light, 1882, from search (v.) + light (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for searchlight

high-intensity electric light with a reflector shaped to concentrate the beam, used to illuminate or search for distant objects or as a beacon.

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