- a long, usually slender piece of tallow or wax with an embedded wick that is burned to give light.
- something resembling a candle in appearance or use.
- (formerly) candela.
- Also called international candle.a unit of luminous intensity, defined as a fraction of the luminous intensity of a group of 45 carbon-filament lamps: used from 1909 to 1948 as the international standard.
- a unit of luminous intensity, equal to the luminous intensity of a wax candle of standard specifications: used prior to 1909 as the international standard. Abbreviation: c., c
- to examine (eggs) for freshness, fertility, etc., by holding them up to a bright light.
- to hold (a bottle of wine) in front of a lighted candle while decanting so as to detect sediment and prevent its being poured off with the wine.
- burn the/one's candle at both ends. burn1(def 54).
- hold a candle to, to compare favorably with (usually used in the negative): She's smart, but she can't hold a candle to her sister.
- worth the candle, worth the trouble or effort involved (usually used in the negative): Trying to win them over to your viewpoint is not worth the candle.
Origin of candle
Examples from the Web for candle
Unlike the Soviet Union at a certain period in history, the Russian economy does not hold a candle to that of the United States.Oliver Stone’s Latest Dictator Suckup
January 5, 2015
This candle may just be the perfect stocking stuffer or gift for a dear friend.The Daily Beast’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Taylor Swift in Your Life
November 29, 2014
And she said, “No, you are on fire,” and my arm had caught on fire from a candle on this mantelpiece.Stephen Merchant Talks ‘Hello Ladies’ movie, the Nicole Kidman Cameo, and Legacy of ‘The Office’
November 22, 2014
In the middle of the night at an airport someone told me they had lit a candle for me.Joan Rivers: Our Last Interview
September 4, 2014
His cigar had gone out; he relit it from the candle on our table, puffing great gray clouds of smoke.Stanley Booth on the Life and Hard Times of Blues Genius Furry Lewis
June 7, 2014
He lit a candle, and went cautiously down the rickety staircase.
Blowing out the candle, he advanced to the table and set it down.
A candle had recently been lighted, and it stood on the table near this man.Way of the Lawless
He accompanied her to the foot of the stairs and lit her candle.Viviette
William J. Locke
When they reached the cellar, she took the candle and went to look at the door.Weighed and Wanting
- a cylindrical piece of wax, tallow, or other fatty substance surrounding a wick, which is burned to produce light
- burn the candle at both ends to exhaust oneself, esp by being up late and getting up early to work
- not hold a candle to informal to be inferior or contemptible in comparison withyour dog doesn't hold a candle to mine
- not worth the candle informal not worth the price or trouble entailed (esp in the phrase the game's not worth the candle)
- (tr) to examine (eggs) for freshness or the likelihood of being hatched by viewing them against a bright light
Word Origin and History for candle
Old English candel "lamp, lantern, candle," an early ecclesiastical borrowing from Latin candela "a light, torch, candle made of tallow or wax," from candere "to shine," from PIE root *kand- "to glow, to shine, to shoot out light" (cf. Sanskrit cand- "to give light, shine," candra- "shining, glowing, moon;" Greek kandaros "coal;" Welsh cann "white;" Middle Irish condud "fuel").
Candles were unknown in ancient Greece (where oil lamps sufficed), but common from early times among Romans and Etruscans. Candles on birthday cakes seems to have been originally a German custom. To hold a candle to originally meant "to help in a subordinate capacity," from the notion of an assistant or apprentice holding a candle for light while the master works. To burn the candle at both ends is recorded from 1730.