[in-kuh n-des-uh ns]


the emission of visible light by a body, caused by its high temperature.Compare luminescence.
the light produced by such an emission.
the quality of being incandescent.

Origin of incandescence

First recorded in 1650–60; incandesc(ent) + -ence
Related formsnon·in·can·des·cence, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for incandescence

Contemporary Examples of incandescence

Historical Examples of incandescence

  • Only the incandescence of the metal and the flame itself were visible.

    The Black Star Passes

    John W Campbell

  • The garden where Nedda definitely was not present became bathed in incandescence.

    The Pirates of Ersatz

    Murray Leinster

  • It is true of all metals which are capable of being heated to incandescence.

  • Did ever passion heat words to incandescence as it did those of Sappho?

    Over the Teacups

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

  • The light of incandescence is intense and white like that from metal at a white heat.

    English Synonyms and Antonyms

    James Champlin Fernald

British Dictionary definitions for incandescence




the emission of light by a body as a consequence of raising its temperatureCompare luminescence
the light produced by raising the temperature of a body
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 incandescence

1650s, figurative, "state of being 'inflamed,'" from incandescent + -ence. Literal use from 1794.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for incandescence



The emission of visible light from a substance or object as a result of heating it to a high temperature. The color of the light emitted from solids and liquids is a function of their chemical structure and their temperature; the higher the temperature, the more intense and even the distribution of frequencies is (that is, higher temperatures create brighter and whiter light than lower temperatures). Compare fluorescence. See also blackbody radiation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.