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candle

[kan-dl]
See more synonyms for candle on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a long, usually slender piece of tallow or wax with an embedded wick that is burned to give light.
  2. something resembling a candle in appearance or use.
  3. Optics.
    1. (formerly) candela.
    2. 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.
    3. 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
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verb (used with object), can·dled, can·dling.
  1. to examine (eggs) for freshness, fertility, etc., by holding them up to a bright light.
  2. 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.
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Idioms
  1. burn the/one's candle at both ends. burn1(def 54).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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Origin of candle

before 900; Middle English, Old English candel < Latin candēla, equivalent to cand(ēre) to shine + -ēla deverbal noun suffix; see candid
Related formscan·dler, nounun·can·dled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

torchdipflambeaubougie

Examples from the Web for candle

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He lit a candle, and went cautiously down the rickety staircase.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Blowing out the candle, he advanced to the table and set it down.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • A candle had recently been lighted, and it stood on the table near this man.

  • 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

    George MacDonald


British Dictionary definitions for candle

candle

noun
  1. a cylindrical piece of wax, tallow, or other fatty substance surrounding a wick, which is burned to produce light
  2. physics
    1. See international candle
    2. another name for candela
  3. burn the candle at both ends to exhaust oneself, esp by being up late and getting up early to work
  4. not hold a candle to informal to be inferior or contemptible in comparison withyour dog doesn't hold a candle to mine
  5. not worth the candle informal not worth the price or trouble entailed (esp in the phrase the game's not worth the candle)
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verb
  1. (tr) to examine (eggs) for freshness or the likelihood of being hatched by viewing them against a bright light
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Derived Formscandler, noun

Word Origin

Old English candel, from Latin candēla, from candēre to be white, glitter
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

Word Origin and History for candle

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

candle in Medicine

candle

(kăndl)
n.
  1. candela
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with candle

candle

see burn the candle at both ends; game is not worth the candle; hold a candle to.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.