1. the emission of visible light by a body, caused by its high temperature.Compare luminescence.
  2. the light produced by such an emission.
  3. the quality of being incandescent.


  1. the emission of light by a body as a consequence of raising its temperatureCompare luminescence
  2. the light produced by raising the temperature of a body

1650s, figurative, “state of being ‘inflamed,'” from incandescent + -ence. Literal use from 1794.

  1. The emission of visible light from a substance or object as a result of heating it to a high temperature. The color of the light emitted from solids and liquids is a function of their chemical structure and their temperature; the higher the temperature, the more intense and even the distribution of frequencies is (that is, higher temperatures create brighter and whiter light than lower temperatures). Compare fluorescence. See also blackbody radiation.

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