1. Any of various devices that generate light and often heat, especially:
a. An electric device having a socket for a light bulb, especially a free-standing piece of furniture.
b. A device that gives off ultraviolet, infrared, or other radiation, used for therapeutic purposes.
c. A light bulb: a spotlight fitted with a metal-halide lamp.
d. A vessel containing oil or alcohol burned through a wick.
e. A lantern or fixture that gives off light by burning gas, usually by means of a mantle.
2. Archaic A celestial body that gives off or reflects light.
[Middle English lampe, from Old French, from Latin lampas, from Greek, from lampein, to shine.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.