Lambent means having a gentle, luminous glow. Lambent also means marked by lightness or brilliance especially of expression. Lambent derives from the Latin verb lambere (to lick) and it first appeared in the English language in the 17th century.
At first lambent was used to describe the way flames or light played across surface, though in 1717 Alexander Pope used lambent in his poem “Eloisa to Abelard” to describe the radiant, brilliant glow of smiling eyes – “Those smiling eyes, attemp’ring ev’ry ray, Shone sweetly lambent with celestial day.”. Today lambent is used to describe anything that has a gentle, soft glow and to describe those who are able to use their words in clever, humorous ways without being unkind or cruel, i.e. a lambent wit is one that is not biting or hurtful yet still cleverly honest.
Catherine Morland would never be described has having a lambent wit or way with words, but look at how lovely that lambent light gently flickers about Her.
Lambent is such a gorgeous word, so lush and visual. The moment I hear it I easily conjure up the softest glow of candlelight that dances lightly upon whatever it touches. I also quite enjoy it’s secondary meaning since I prefer whitty remarks to be made in a more lambent fashion rather than a cuttingly cruel way. There is a grace and a kindness to be found in lambent tones and words that feeds the soul instead of drains it. What do you think of the word lambent? Also, if you haven’t seen Northanger Abbey (2007) and you enjoy charming costume dramas or Jane Austin you really should – it’s a sweet romp!
Namaste ~ Ella
** If there’s a word you’d like to see added to the Word Nerd roster, please feel free to contact me or suggest it in the comments – I enjoy feedback and recommendations!