This word was suggested by Ariana Amorim

Definition: playing lightly on or over a surface, softly bright or radiant; marked by lightness or brilliance of expression.


The origin to this word is somewhat confusing; I looked in three different sources, and the longer I insisted it could not be it- the more similar results I have found. So, this great adjective, that takes on natural flickering of any sort and uses it to represent humor and wit of expression (just like my previous scintillate), dates back to the 1640’s and originates in the Latin lambentem, figuratively meaning to lick. The older Proto Indo European roof of lab was indicative of smacking lips and licking. If there’s anyone out there who can elaborate on the connection between the two meanings- please do so!

Why this word?     

This great word was suggested to us by Ariana Amorim, thank you Ariana! Perhaps you know more in regards to the seemingly-un-related origin of the word?

But it is truly a beautiful word with a beautiful meaning. This word is here to indicate natural brilliance of expression, but not a surprising one. Imagine the flickering drops of sunset on the dark oceans’ water; the light is there, the brilliance is there, but this word doesn’t refer to the light that is constantly shown, but to the special-furthermore-brilliant drops of light upon it.

When using this word in the figurative sense, describing a person of spectacular wit or humor, you must refer to a person who is constantly brilliant and expression-wise-surprising, and manages to even top himself every once in a while. This adjective stresses the uniqueness of an already unique thought or expression.

How to use lambent?

You can point out the lambent sunlight glinting off the waters, or the lambent moon glow lighting the lake to your friends when out in nature.

Figuratively you would say that a writer is known for his/her lambent humor.


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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.


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