Definitions

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

  • n. A ray of sunlight.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A narrow and intense (relative to ambient light) ray of sunlight.
  • n. Any butterfly of the genus Curetis.
  • n. Any hummingbird of the genus Aglaeactis.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A beam or ray of the sun.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A ray of the sun.

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

  • n. a ray of sunlight

Etymologies

Middle English sunnebem, from Old English sunnebēam (translation of Late Latin columna lūcis, pillar of light) : sunne, sun; see sun + bēam, tree, building post; see beam.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From sun +‎ beam. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Survey-ships and detectors were out; the scientists of the Patrol had been for months hard at work on the "sunbeam" -a device to concentrate the energy of the sun into one frightful beam.

    Children of the Lens

  • She was a very grave "sunbeam" when she set out to walk to church -- and as clear!

    Say and Seal, Volume II

  • T.J. gave Margaret a sunbeam smile and strutted confidently through the doors of what was soon to be his office.

    I.O.U.

  • It had moved out away from me on the current and was glittering like a sunbeam on the water.

    Master of Mirrors

  • And Max is lounging on a spare laptop, in a sunbeam.

    Valentines, part the first

  • That's all of us - everybody you know, everybody you love, everybody you ever heard of lived out their lives there, on a mote of dust in a sunbeam.

    Celebrating Carl Sagan And 'Cosmos'

  • Then I admitted defeat and crawled away to the bedroom, where I lay in a sunbeam and smelled the spring unfolding outside the open window.

    Ugh II

  • Complaint Department: I shall nap in this sunbeam, and all shall be well.

    ain't no rest for the wicked, until we close our eyes at last

  • They swam until the first sunbeam crested our Ishtar Gate and roused the city from its slumber.

    Day 17: Citadel

  • Its climax is not an emotional catharsis but rather the radiance of that third movement: music as shining and direct as rainwater in a sunbeam.

    Music review: Post-Classical Ensemble recognizes the work of Lou Harrison

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