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[surch-lahyt] /ˈsɜrtʃˌlaɪt/
a device, usually consisting of a light and reflector, for throwing a beam of light in any direction.
a beam of light so thrown.
Origin of searchlight
First recorded in 1880-85; search + light1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for searchlight
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A few minutes later the brilliant bluish white beam of a searchlight was fixed on the Port Elizabeth.

    Banzai! Ferdinand Heinrich Grautoff
  • They are not using their searchlight, and we have no way of signalling to them.

  • All watched the glare of the searchlight for about three hours, till it disappeared across the plain in the direction of Tientsin.

    With the Allies to Pekin George Alfred Henty
  • About the destroyer came, playing her searchlight on the waters.

  • Rumour said that it was as powerful as a searchlight, and yet could be carried in your pocket.

    My Adventures as a Spy Robert Baden-Powell
  • Presently the searchlight was switched off, leaving the deck in utter darkness.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
  • But happily scientists, who have turned the searchlight on his deeds, find that his sins have been very greatly exaggerated.

British Dictionary definitions for searchlight


a device, consisting of a light source and a reflecting surface behind it, that projects a powerful beam of light in a particular direction
the beam of light produced by such a device
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 searchlight

also search-light, 1882, from search (v.) + light (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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