strobe lighting


  1. a high-intensity flashing beam of light produced by rapid electrical discharges in a tube or by a perforated disc rotating in front of an intense light source: used in discotheques, etc
  2. the use of or the apparatus for producing such 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


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More About Strobe Lighting

What does strobe lighting mean?

Strobe lighting is the kind of rapid flashing produced by a strobe light—a type of specialized lamp that produces a continuous series of short, bright flashes of light.

Strobe lights are also called strobes, stroboscopes, or stroboscopic lamps.

Strobe lighting has the effect of seeming to freeze the movement of things in motion. This happens because the thing that’s moving—such as a person dancing—is only lit up for a fraction of a second.

Strobe lighting is associated with its use at concerts, raves, and dance clubs, but it also has technical uses in photography. Because strobe lights produce very short, extremely bright bursts of light, they can be used in conjunction with a camera to photograph a rapidly moving object, such as a bullet, for such a short duration that it will appear to be standing still in the resulting photo. Strobe lights also have other scientific uses involving the measurement of vibration and other types of high-speed motion.

Strobe lights look like they’re just flashing on and off, but this effect is usually produced by an electric discharge in a gas or a disc that rotates in front of a light source.

Example: I hate going to concerts that use strobe lighting—I end up having to close my eyes most of the time to shield them from the bright flashes.

Where does strobe lighting come from?

Strobe lighting is a relatively recent term. The first records of it come from around the 1970s (with strobe light first recorded in the 1960s). The word strobe is also relatively recent, first recorded around the 1940s. It’s a shortening of the word stroboscopic, the first part of which comes from the Greek strobos, meaning “a twisting” or “a whirling.” (The term stroboscopic is used in terms like stroboscopic lamp and stroboscopic microscope.)

Strobe lighting might look cool, but it can cause seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy. It can also cause discomfort in people with sensitivity to light. Some TV shows and movies show a warning before they start informing viewers that strobe lighting effects will be used.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for strobe lighting?

What are some words that share a root or word element with strobe lighting



What are some words that often get used in discussing strobe lighting?


How is strobe lighting used in real life?

Strobe lighting is closely associated with its use for concerts and raves, but it also has technical and scientific uses.



Try using strobe lighting!

Which of the following words is LEAST likely to be used to describe strobe lighting?

A. flashing
B. pulsing
C. uninterrupted
D. intermittent




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