- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for luminescent
Seen beside the two luminescent elegies, the rest of the essays in the collection appear in long shadows.Roughing It With Jonathan Franzen’s ‘Farther Away’
April 28, 2012
Richard C. Holbrooke was the most luminescent foreign-policy figure of my generation.The Richard Holbrooke I Knew
Leslie H. Gelb
January 2, 2011
About his head there began to float a pale, luminescent sphere.Sense from Thought Divide
Mark Irvin Clifton
None of the luminescent animals which I have studied are at all affected by cyanides.
He looked around him, trying to probe the luminescent gloom that the goggles he wore brought to his eyes.Anything You Can Do ...
Gordon Randall Garrett
Either the mycelium alone or the fruiting body alone, or both, may be luminescent.
Such bodies we speak of as luminescent, and in this category belong all luminous animals.
- the emission of light at low temperatures by any process other than incandescence, such as phosphorescence or chemiluminescence
- the light emitted by such a process
C19: from Latin lūmen light
Word Origin and History for luminescent
Fluorescence and Phosphorescence -- Prof. E. Wiedmann has made a new study of these phenomena. He proposes the general name luminescence for evolutions of light which do not depend on the temperature of the substance concerned. ["Photographic News," April 20, 1888]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- 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 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.