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 formslamp·less, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for lamp

light, flashlight, beacon, torch, searchlight, gaslight

Examples from the Web for lamp

Contemporary Examples of lamp

Historical Examples of lamp

  • Phidias has returned; and he likes to have no lamp burn later than his own.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • He lighted the lamp, turned down the wick, and replaced the chimney.

  • 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.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for lamp



  1. any of a number of devices that produce illuminationan electric lamp; a gas lamp; an oil lamp
  2. (in combination)lampshade
a device for holding one or more electric light bulbsa 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 purposesan ultraviolet lamp

Word Origin for lamp

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

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

lamp in Medicine




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.