[ loo-muh-nes-uh ns ]
/ ˌlu məˈnɛs əns /


the emission of light not caused by incandescence and occurring at a temperature below that of incandescent bodies.
the light produced by such an emission.

Origin of luminescence

1885–90; < Latin lūmin- (see lumen) + -escence

Related forms

lu·mi·nes·cent, adjectivenon·lu·mi·nes·cence, nounnon·lu·mi·nes·cent, adjectiveun·lu·mi·nes·cent, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for luminescent

British Dictionary definitions for luminescent


/ (ˌluːmɪˈnɛsəns) /


  1. the emission of light at low temperatures by any process other than incandescence, such as phosphorescence or chemiluminescence
  2. the light emitted by such a process

Derived Forms

luminescent, adjective

Word Origin for luminescence

C19: from Latin lūmen light
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

Medicine definitions for luminescent


[ lōō′mə-nĕsəns ]


The emission of light that does not derive energy from the temperature of the emitting body, as in fluorescence and bioluminescence.
The light so emitted.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for luminescent


[ lōō′mə-nĕsəns ]

The emission of light as a result of the excitation of atoms by energy other than heat. Bioluminescence, fluorescence, and phosphorescence are examples of luminescence that can be produced by biological or chemical processes.
The light produced in this way.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.