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[bahy-oh-loo-muh-nes-uh ns] /ˌbaɪ oʊˌlu məˈnɛs əns/
the production of light by living organisms.
Origin of bioluminescence
First recorded in 1915-20; bio- + luminescence
Related forms
bioluminescent, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bioluminescence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is not the purpose of this book to deal with every phase of bioluminescence.

    The Nature of Animal Light E. Newton Harvey
  • A fairly complete list of literature covering the whole field of bioluminescence is given by Mangold, 1910.

    The Nature of Animal Light E. Newton Harvey
British Dictionary definitions for bioluminescence


the production of light by living organisms as a result of the oxidation of a light-producing substance (luciferin) by the enzyme luciferase: occurs in many marine organisms, insects such as the firefly, etc
Derived Forms
bioluminescent, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bioluminescence

also bio-luminescence, 1909; see bio- + luminescence.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bioluminescence in Science
The emission of light by living organisms, such as fireflies, glowworms, and certain fish, jellyfish, plankton, fungi, and bacteria. It occurs when a pigment (usually luciferin) is oxidized without giving off heat. Although it is believed that bioluminescence is involved in animal communication, its function in many organisms has yet to be understood. Bioluminescence is a form of chemiluminescence. Compare chemiluminescence.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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