(of light) produced by incandescence.
glowing or white with heat.
intensely bright; brilliant.
brilliant; masterly; extraordinarily lucid: an incandescent masterpiece; incandescent wit.
aglow with ardor, purpose, etc.: the incandescent vitality of youth.

Origin of incandescent

1785–95; < Latin incandēscent- (stem of incandēscēns), present participle of incandēscere to glow. See in-2, candescent
Related formsin·can·des·cent·ly, adverbnon·in·can·des·cent, adjectivenon·in·can·des·cent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for incandescent

5. electrifying, brilliant, dynamic. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for incandescent

Contemporary Examples of incandescent

Historical Examples of incandescent

  • I was then taken to visit his incandescent ovens and his vats in a state of ebullition.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • Their boat seemed to be sailing on the bosom of an incandescent stream.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • Then leaf by leaf it dropped its petals until only an incandescent core was left.


    James Huneker

  • When anything becomes hot enough to glow, we say it is incandescent.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • Then heat the top of the bubble till it is incandescent and blow violently.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

British Dictionary definitions for incandescent



emitting light as a result of being heated to a high temperature; red-hot or white-hot
informal extremely angry; raging
Derived Formsincandescently, adverb

Word Origin for incandescent

C18: from Latin incandescere to become hot, glow, from in- ² + candescere to grow bright, from candēre to be white; see candid
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 incandescent

1794, from French incandescent or directly from Latin incandescentem (nominative incandescens), present participle of incandescere "become warm, glow, kindle," from in- "within" (see in- (2)) + candescere "begin to glow, become white," inceptive of candere "to glow, to shine" (see candle).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper