from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A solid, usually cylindrical mass of tallow, wax, or other fatty substance with an axially embedded wick that is burned to provide light.
  • noun Something resembling this object in shape or use.
  • noun Physics An obsolete unit of luminous intensity, originally defined in terms of a wax candle with standard composition, later in terms of a carbon-filament lamp, and superseded by the candela.
  • transitive verb To examine (an egg) for freshness or fertility by holding it before a bright light.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A taper; a cylindrical body of tallow, wax, spermaceti, or other fatty material, formed on a wick composed of linen or cotton threads woven or twisted loosely, or (as formerly) of the pith of a rush, and used as a source of artificial light.
  • noun One candle-power: used as a standard of comparison. See candle-power.
  • noun In sodamanuf., a name given to the jets of sulphureted hydrogen and carbonic oxid which escape from various parts of the roasted mixture of sodium sulphate, coal, and limestone, during the process of manufacture.
  • To examine (an egg) in an egg-tester by means of a lighted candle to determine its freshness. See egg-candling.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A slender, cylindrical body of tallow, containing a wick composed of loosely twisted linen of cotton threads, and used to furnish light.
  • noun That which gives light; a luminary.
  • noun the fruit of a euphorbiaceous shrub (Aleurites triloba), a native of some of the Pacific islands; -- socalled because, when dry, it will burn with a bright flame, and is used by the natives as a candle. The oil has many uses.
  • noun (Photom.) illuminating power, as of a lamp, or gas flame, reckoned in terms of the light of a standard candle.
  • noun A modification of the electric arc lamp, in which the carbon rods, instead of being placed end to end, are arranged side by side, and at a distance suitable for the formation of the arc at the tip; -- called also, from the name of the inventor, Jablockoff candle.
  • noun a form of excommunication in which the offender is allowed time to repent only while a candle burns.
  • noun not worth the cost or trouble.
  • noun a candle made of the pith of certain rushes, peeled except on one side, and dipped in grease.
  • noun an auction in which persons are allowed to bid only till a small piece of candle burns out.
  • noun (Photom.) a special form of candle employed as a standard in photometric measurements; usually, a candle of spermaceti so constructed as to burn at the rate of 120 grains, or 7.8 grams, per hour.
  • noun See under Bell.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A light source consisting of a wick embedded in a solid, flammable substance such as wax, tallow, or paraffin.
  • noun The protruding, removable portion of a filter, particularly a water filter.
  • noun obsolete A unit of luminous intensity, now replaced by the SI unit candela.
  • noun forestry a fast growing, light colored, upward-growing shoot on a pine tree in the spring. As growth slows in summer, the shoot darkens and is no longer highlighted to one’s view.
  • verb embryology To observe the growth of an embryo inside an egg, using a bright light source.
  • verb pottery To dry greenware prior to beginning of the firing cycle, setting the kiln at 200° Celsius until all water is removed from the greenware.
  • verb To check an item (such as an envelope) by holding it between a light souce and the eye.

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

  • verb examine eggs for freshness by holding them against a light
  • noun the basic unit of luminous intensity adopted under the Systeme International d'Unites; equal to 1/60 of the luminous intensity per square centimeter of a black body radiating at the temperature of 2,046 degrees Kelvin
  • noun stick of wax with a wick in the middle


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

[Middle English candel, from Old English and from Anglo-Norman candele, both from Latin candēla, from candēre, to shine; see kand- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English candel, from Latin candēla ("a candle"), from candeō ("I am white, bright, shining"); see candid.


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  • "I'd rather light a candle than curse your darkness."

    Gale, "Raising Arizona"

    June 22, 2008