Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Flickering lightly over or on a surface: lambent moonlight.
  • adj. Effortlessly light or brilliant: lambent wit.
  • adj. Having a gentle glow; luminous. See Synonyms at bright.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Brushing or flickering gently over a surface.
  • adj. Glowing or luminous, but lacking heat.
  • adj. Exhibiting lightness or brilliance of wit; clever or witty without unkindness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Playing on the surface; touching lightly; gliding over.
  • adj. Twinkling or gleaming; fickering.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Licking.
  • Hence Running along or over a surface, as if in the act of licking; flowing over or along; lapping or bathing; softly bright; gleaming.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. softly bright or radiant

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin lambēns, lambent-, present participle of lambere, to lick.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin lambens, present participle of lambō ("lick").

Examples

  • When he shot the sun at noon, the glow of achievement wrapped him in lambent flame.

    Chapter 4

  • They have a taste of native earth, beautifully rarefied: to change the metaphor, they illuminate the page with a kind of lambent common sense.

    From a Cornish Window A New Edition

  • He gazes with growing fear and wonder at the lambent pattern of particle tracks, and struggles to absorb the full implications.

    Archive 2009-05-01

  • As Leigh did with 2008's "Happy-Go-Lucky," he and cinematographer Dick Pope have chosen a lush palette and expansive widescreen canvas to draw the audience into Tom and Gerri's lambent world, made all the more seductive by Gary Yershon's lyrical chamber score.

    Somewhere between settled and unsettling

  • An internal light source emits a lambent umber glow so that, in the gallery's dimly lit corner in which it sits, it looks like a meteor that just cratered into the floor.

    James Scarborough: "Stay Free© or Die: The Menstrual Hut Project," International City Bungalow Gallery, Long Beach, California

  • Dominguez's tattered adorableness at the beginning, the way she warbles about what Glen Campbell would call the dreams of an everyday housewife, her lambent and then incandescent love for Seymour, all this she conveys with passion and conviction.

    James Scarborough: Little Shop of Horrors, STAGEStheatre, Fullerton

  • Salt, when dealt fuckall hands in a bathtub go pruny, grain of fizzy expands, as if to say steam clouds lambent, mid-air still you got to slip your ass out of there.

    Sybil Sells Koans By Salton Sea

  • Throughout the Impressionist galleries, the ceilings have been opened, cathedral style, to reveal structural beams, a nod to the Orsay's industrial aesthetic, and also to admit an ingenious blend of artificial and natural illumination that beautifully captures on shimmering, grayish-lavender walls the effect of lambent sunlight.

    New Visions Arrive at the Orsay

  • The laughter of her mind played like lambent flame over all about her, and from all about her arose answering laughter.

    The Wit of Porportuk

  • He stared at the ceiling, his eyes a lambent gleam in the darkness.

    Etched in Bone

Comments

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  • The sun's is a harsh and literal light,

    But seen by the lamps of the night

    The world circumambient

    Is suggestively lambent, 

    As shadows shape the inward sight.

    August 2, 2014

  • Her flesh is lambent against the black of her dress. James Salter in"A Sport and a Past Time"

    February 12, 2013

  • Always has been one of my favorite words. It sounds and looks like what it means.

    April 21, 2012

  • "About a week after 9/11, notebook in hand, I went to a screening of 'Serendipity,' a romance set in a lambent New York, starring John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale and tertiary players from 'Sex and the City.'"

    The New York Times, Reflections on That Dreadful Tuesday, by Ed Park, September 6, 2008

    September 8, 2008

  • But Princess Nathalie, the cat, was uneasy. Annixter was occupying her own particular chair in which she slept every night. She could not go to sleep, but spied upon him continually, watching his every movement with her lambent, yellow eyes, clear as amber.

    - Frank Norris, The Octopus, ch. 3

    August 9, 2008

  • Foaled of the white sea-horses,

    Washed in the lambent waters of the sun.

    (francis thompson, from the night of forebeing)

    April 28, 2008

  • young sheep with same-sex proclivities

    November 2, 2007