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From after- +‎ glow.


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afterglow (countable and uncountable, plural afterglows)

  1. The glow seen in the sky after sunset.
    Synonym: afterlight
    • 1848, Harriet Martineau, chapter 2, in Eastern Life, Present and Past[1], volume 1, London: Edward Moxon, pages 17–18:
      That the sunset in Egypt is gorgeous, every body knows; but I, for one, was not aware that there is a renewal of beauty, some time after the sun has departed and left all grey. [] everything begins to brighten again in twenty minutes;—the hills are again purple or golden,—the sands orange,—the palms verdant,—the moonlight on the water, a pale green ripple on a lilac surface: and this after-glow continues for ten minutes, when it slowly fades away.
    • 1916, Rabindranath Tagore, translated by Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds[2], New York: Macmillan, verse 273, p. 77:
      Let my thoughts come to you, when I am gone, like the afterglow of sunset at the margin of starry silence.
    • 1927, Lucy Maud Montgomery, chapter 1, in Emily’s Quest[3], New York: Bantam, published 1983, page 9:
      Why did dusk and fir-scent and the afterglow of autumnal sunsets make people say absurd things?
    • 1950 January, Arthur F. Beckenham, “With British Railways to the Far North”, in Railway Magazine, page 5:
      At Stirling, we obtained a wonderful silhouette view of the Wallace Monument, and the dark line of the Ochil Hills, and the castle stood out clearly against the afterglow of the sunset.
    • 1969, Kurt Vonnegut, chapter 7, in Slaughterhouse-Five[4], New York: Dial, published 2005, page 200:
      The sun had just gone down, and its afterglow was backlighting the city, which formed low cliffs around the bucolic void to the idle stockyards.
  2. The light emitted by an incandescent object while cooling.
    • 1984, Paul Auster (as Paul Benjamin), Squeeze Play, London: Faber & Faber, 1991, Chapter 19, p. 176,[5]
      Nothing will matter to you more than that [base]ball. It will hold you so completely that when you at last file out and return to the normal world, it will stay with you like the afterglow of a flashbulb that’s gone off in your eyes.
  3. The light emitted by a phosphor after excitation.
  4. The mildly euphoric feeling experienced after a pleasurable experience, especially after an orgasm or drug-induced high.
    • 1872, George Eliot, chapter 16, in Middlemarch[6]:
      [] he threw down his book, stretched his legs towards the embers in the grate, and clasped his hands at the back of his head, in that agreeable afterglow of excitement when thought lapses from examination of a specific object into a suffusive sense of its connections with all the rest of our existence []
    • 1922, Elizabeth von Arnim, chapter 16, in The Enchanted April[7], New York: Washington Square Press, published 1995, page 216:
      She herself had grown old as people should grow old—steadily and firmly. No interruptions, no belated after-glows and spasmodic returns.
    • 1981, Peter De Vries, chapter 6, in Sauce for the Goose, Penguin, published 1982, page 92:
      Nor did he cease attentions once himself glutted: he remained a wooing protagonist even in the “afterglow,” as the sex manuals call it.
    • 2006, Haruki Murakami, “A Folklore for my Generation: A Pre-History of Late-Stage Capitalism”, in Philip Gabriel, Jay Rubin, transl., Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman[8], New York: Vintage, page 61:
      We were merely observers, getting totally absorbed in some exciting movie, our palms all sweaty, only to find that, after the houselights came on and we exited the theater, the thrilling afterglow that coursed through us ultimately meant nothing whatsoever.
  5. An afterparty.
    There's an afterglow with singing after the evening worship.



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