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

  • n. A method of detecting distant objects and determining their position, velocity, or other characteristics by analysis of pulsed laser light reflected from their surfaces.
  • n. The equipment used in such detection.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The optical analogue of radar which uses intense pulses of laser light to measure the composition and structure of the atmosphere.

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

  • n. a measuring system that detects and locates objects on the same principle as radar but uses light from a laser; a potential technology for detecting air turbulence that can affect aircraft


li(ght)1 + (ra)dar.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Blend of light and radar. (Wiktionary)



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  • most of the examples are in lowercase, but a search on google scholar for 'light detection and ranging' indicates that it is most often used in all capitals, less frequently as all lower case, and perhaps most accurately as 'LiDAR'. Does anyone know when an acronymn becomes sufficiently colloquial to be used in all lowercase, and if LiDAR has met this?

    August 19, 2010

  • Acronym for "LIght Detection And Ranging." Whenever I see this word I can't help but think about Napoleon Dynamite's liger.

    January 18, 2008

  • "Speed trap" weapon.

    November 16, 2007