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  1. radiant brightness or light: the radiance of the tropical sun.
  2. warm, cheerful brightness: the radiance of her expression.
  3. Rare. radiation.
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Also radiancy.

Origin of radiance

First recorded in 1595–1605; radi(ant) + -ance
Related formsnon·ra·di·ance, nounsub·ra·di·ance, nounsu·per·ra·di·ance, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for radiance

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Sidney, as tender as ever, had lost a little of the radiance from her eyes; her voice had deepened.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Around them was a radiance of virtues and graces from the first hour of their meeting.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • This portion of the figure he enriches by the attribution of whiteness, or unity and radiance.

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • This time it was the old Buddha of the Radiance of the Light.

  • Suddenly its radiance turned blue, and was split into two tongues.

British Dictionary definitions for radiance



noun plural -ances or -ancies
  1. the quality or state of being radiant
  2. a measure of the amount of electromagnetic radiation leaving or arriving at a point on a surface. It is the radiant intensity in a given direction of a small element of surface area divided by the orthogonal projection of this area onto a plane at right angles to the directionSymbol: L e
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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 radiance


c.1600, "brilliant light," from radiant or else from Medieval Latin radiantia "brightness," from radiare "to beam, shine" (see radiation). Figurative use from 1761. Related: Radiancy.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

radiance in Medicine


  1. The quality or state of being radiant.
  2. The radiant energy emitted per unit time in a specified direction by a unit area of an emitting surface.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.