General English


  • noun a small light

Cars & Driving

  • noun a lighting unit


  • Any device that converts electric energy into light. Types include incandescent, fluorescent, metal halide and high pressure sodium.


  • A device which produces visible light. Said especially of devices which convert electricity into light. There are many examples, including arc lamps, fluorescent lamps, electroluminescent lamps, gas-filled lamps, glow lamps, and incandescent lamps.
  • A device which produces light or heat. Examples include infrared lamps, and ultraviolet lamps.


  • verb to look (at), to eye. The term, currently in vogue among fashionable adolescents in Britain, comes from a now archaic three-hundred-year-old use of lamp as a slang synonym for an eye.
  • verb to hit, beat up or attack. A now dated usage perhaps combining elements of ‘lam’, in the sense of beat, and lump. The word was frequently used with this meaning in the 1950s.
  • verb to have sex with. A synonym of lam, slam.
  • verb to relax. A contemporary synonym of chill.

Origin & History of “lamp”

A lamp is literally something that ‘shines’. The word comes via Old French lampe and Latin lampas from Greek lampás, which was derived from the verb lámpein ‘give light, shine’ (source also of English lantern). The Greek word originally denoted a ‘bunch of burning sticks, torch’, but in post-classical times it was applied to an ‘oil lamp’. The Old English word for ‘lamp’ was lēohtfœt, literally ‘light-vessel’.