Definitions

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

  • noun Light produced by burning illuminating gas.
  • noun A gas burner or lamp.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Light, or a provision for light, produced by the combustion of coal-gas; a gas-jet, or the light from it.

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

  • noun The light yielded by the combustion of illuminating gas.
  • noun A gas jet or burner.

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

  • noun UK The light produced by burning piped illuminating gas.
  • noun UK A lamp which operates by burning gas.
  • verb slang To manipulate someone psychologically such that they question their own sanity.

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

  • noun light yielded by the combustion of illuminating gas

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

gas +‎ light. The verb sense derives from the 1938 stage play Gas Light, in which a husband attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment.

Examples

  • If I ever receive a copy I will most certainly eat it up just like that. *grin* I think that the genre is called gaslight, but I am not so sure really.

    Reviews of fantasy and science fiction books

  • The inner wall must either be gaslight at the base or rest on a ring of "gaslight" mortar (h).

    5. Design of biogas plants

  • Particularly notable is the open announcement that s/he would "gaslight" my predecessor to the bitter end, and explicitly telling untentured faculty that if s/he did not do EXACTLY as the bully said, said untenured faculty member would not be receiving tenure.

    Wired Campus

  • Another important part of weaving the past into my story was walking the streets of Brooklyn Heights, especially on a snowy night when it's easier to imagine carriages clattering down the streets and gaslight flickering behind the windows of the brownstones.

    Patricia O'Brien discusses her novel Harriet & Isabella, about the trial of Henry Ward Beecher, brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin

  • In discussing "The Night Café" 1888, a well-known depiction of a disreputable barroom in Arles—a jarring composition featuring bright yellow gaslight shining on blood-red walls—they tell us that "Vincent began his dissonant painting in a dissonant mood."

    A Stranger to Himself

  • Just as much of today's horror fiction is vampire-driven, one major branch of modern fantasy -- in novels, "cosplay" (costume play), gaming and comics -- is obsessed with an alternate 19th century, one in which the inventions and mad scientists of Jules Verne, the tweedy science fiction of H.G. Wells and the gaslight romances of Arthur Conan Doyle have been mixed and remixed.

    "The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack," steampunk by Mark Hodder

  • And Mesdames and Messieurs could truly see what was in those tantalizing vitrines — the arcades were early converts to gaslight.

    Paris Under Glass

  • And Mesdames and Messieurs could truly see what was in those tantalizing vitrines — the arcades were early converts to gaslight.

    Paris Under Glass

  • Evenings, when we are both home, we usually sit at our wooden table, boiling rose tea in which to dip the day-old bread that complements a warmed, fragrant spread of salted schmaltz, sharing our borrowed newspaper or occasional magazine by gaslight.

    Deadly

  • Evenings, when we are both home, we usually sit at our wooden table, boiling rose tea in which to dip the day-old bread that complements a warmed, fragrant spread of salted schmaltz, sharing our borrowed newspaper or occasional magazine by gaslight.

    Deadly

Comments

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  • "Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse. It uses persistent denials of fact which, as they build up over time, make the victim progressively anxious, confused, and unable to trust his or her own memory and perception... The term was coined from the 1940 film Gaslight and its 1944 remake in which changes in gas light levels are experienced several times by the main character. The classic example in the film is the character Gregory using the gas lamps in the attic, causing the rest of the lamps in the house to dim slightly; when Paula comments on the lights' dimming, she is told she is imagining things."

    - Wikipedia

    October 15, 2007

  • A method also used to great effect on the Wordie earworm page, where certain people can't hear accompanying music. ;-)

    Love the etymology of this word.

    October 15, 2007

  • The play Gaslight (which gives rise to the verb form of this word) was written by Patrick Hamilton.

    January 4, 2009

  • That's a coincidence; I just started reading Hamilton's "Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky".

    January 4, 2009

  • v. To manipulate someone psychologically such that they question their own sanity.

    (I've watched the movie several times so this meaning is, uh, MEANINGFUL!)

    October 18, 2018