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

  • noun An often portable case with transparent or translucent sides for holding and protecting a light.
  • noun A decorative casing for a light, often of paper.
  • noun A light and its protective or decorative case.
  • noun The room at the top of a lighthouse where the light is located.
  • noun Obsolete A lighthouse.
  • noun A structure built on top of a roof or dome with open or windowed walls to admit light and air.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A case, generally transparent or translucent, inclosing a light and protecting it from the wind and rain, and either portable or fixed.
  • noun The glass casing surrounding the lamp of a lighthouse and forming the upper member of the structure.
  • noun In architecture, specifically, an upright skylight in the roof of a building.
  • noun In the quadrant electrometer, the part of the case of the instrument which surrounds the mirror and suspension-fibers.
  • noun A device for inclosing fabrics in the process of dyeing, to fix the colors by the aid of steam.
  • noun A workmen's name for a short perforated core used in making hollow castings.
  • noun A kind of cog-wheel. See lantern-wheel.
  • noun The whiff, a fish, which is semi-transparent when held up against the light.
  • noun The Trigla obscura, a fish of the subfamily Triglinæ. Also called lantern-gurnard.
  • To furnish with a lantern; light as by means of a lantern: as, to lantern a lighthouse.
  • To put to death by hanging to a lamp-post (French lanterne): a frequent incident during the first French revolution.
  • noun The misshapen proboscis (formerly supposed to be luminous) of many tropical Fulgoridæ or so-called ‘lantern-flies.’

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

  • noun Something inclosing a light, and protecting it from wind, rain, etc.; -- sometimes portable, as a closed vessel or case of horn, perforated tin, glass, oiled paper, or other material, having a lamp or candle within; sometimes fixed, as the glazed inclosure of a street light, or of a lighthouse light.
  • noun An open structure of light material set upon a roof, to give light and air to the interior.
  • noun A cage or open chamber of rich architecture, open below into the building or tower which it crowns.
  • noun A smaller and secondary cupola crowning a larger one, for ornament, or to admit light; such as the lantern of the cupola of the Capitol at Washington, or that of the Florence cathedral.
  • noun (Mach.) A lantern pinion or trundle wheel. See Lantern pinion (below).
  • noun (Steam Engine) A kind of cage inserted in a stuffing box and surrounding a piston rod, to separate the packing into two parts and form a chamber between for the reception of steam, etc.; -- called also lantern brass.
  • noun (Founding) A perforated barrel to form a core upon.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Aristotle's lantern.
  • noun a lantern with a single opening, which may be closed so as to conceal the light; -- called also bull's-eye.
  • noun long, thin jaws; hence, a thin visage.
  • noun (Mach.) a kind of pinion or wheel having cylindrical bars or trundles, instead of teeth, inserted at their ends in two parallel disks or plates; -- so called as resembling a lantern in shape; -- called also wallower, or trundle.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any translucent, marine, bivalve shell of the genus Anatina, and allied genera.
  • noun an optical instrument consisting of a case inclosing a light, and having suitable lenses in a lateral tube, for throwing upon a screen, in a darkened room or the like, greatly magnified pictures from slides placed in the focus of the outer lens.
  • transitive verb To furnish with a lantern.

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

  • noun A case of translucent or transparent material made to protect a flame, or light, used to illuminate its surroundings.
  • verb transitive To furnish with a lantern.

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

  • noun light in a transparent protective case


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

[Middle English, from Old French lanterne, from Latin lanterna, from Greek lamptēr, from lampein, to shine.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English (13th century), via Old French lanterne from Latin lanterna ("lantern"), itself a corruption of Ancient Greek λαμπτήρ ("torch") (see lamp, λάμπω) by influence of Latin lucerna ("lamp"). The spelling lanthorn was current during the 16th to 19th centuries and originates with a folk etymology associating the word with the use of horn as translucent cover. For the verb, compare French lanterner to hang at the lamp-post.



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  • I do not resemble your other lovers, my lady

    should another give you a cloud

    I give you rain

    Should he give you a lantern, I

    will give you the moon

    Should he give you a branch

    I will give you the trees

    And if another gives you a ship

    I shall give you the journey.

    - Nizar Qabbani, 'Love Compared'.

    November 10, 2008