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[lamp] /læmp/
any of various devices furnishing artificial light, as by electricity or gas.
a container for an inflammable liquid, as oil, which is burned at a wick as a means of illumination.
a source of intellectual or spiritual light:
the lamp of learning.
any of various devices furnishing heat, ultraviolet, or other radiation:
an infrared lamp.
a celestial body that gives off light, as the moon or a star.
a torch.
lamps, Slang. the eyes.
verb (used with object)
Slang. to look at; eye.
smell of the lamp, to give evidence of laborious study or effort:
His dissertation smells of the lamp.
Origin of lamp
1150-1200; Middle English lampe < Old French < Late Latin lampada, for Latin lampas (stem lampad-) < Greek lampás lamp; akin to lámpē torch, lamp, lámpein to shine
Related forms
lampless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lamp
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Phidias has returned; and he likes to have no lamp burn later than his own.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • He lighted the lamp, turned down the wick, and replaced the chimney.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • Yet he glances behind him and shivers, while the lamp burns pale.

    Other Tales and Sketches Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Then, mechanically, his hand went to the lamp on the table back of the couch.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • She was reading by the lamp, and the door into the hall stood open.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
British Dictionary definitions for lamp


  1. any of a number of devices that produce illumination: an electric lamp, a gas lamp, an oil lamp
  2. (in combination): lampshade
a device for holding one or more electric light bulbs: a table lamp
a vessel in which a liquid fuel is burned to supply illumination
any of a variety of devices that produce radiation, esp for therapeutic purposes: an ultraviolet lamp
Word Origin
C13 lampe, via Old French from Latin lampas, from Greek, from lampein to shine
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 lamp

c.1200, from Old French lampe "lamp, lights" (12c.), from Latin lampas "a light, torch, flambeau," from Greek lampas "torch, lamp, beacon, meteor, light," from lampein "to shine," from nasalized form of PIE root *lap- "to shine" (cf. Lithuanian lope "light," Old Irish lassar "flame"). Replaced Old English leohtfæt "light vessel." To smell of the lamp "be a product of laborious night study" is from 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lamp in Medicine

lamp (lāmp)
A device that generates light, heat, or therapeutic radiation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for lamp



  1. An eye: a beefsteak for this lamp of mine (1590+)
  2. A look; glance; gander (1920s+)


To see; look at: Lamp the lad in blue (1916+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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