light bulb

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See also: lightbulb and light-bulb


Alternative forms[edit]


light +‎ bulb First attested in 1885.


  • IPA(key): /ˈlaɪtˌbʌlb/
  • (file)


light bulb (plural light bulbs)

  1. An evacuated glass bulb containing a metal filament which is heated by electrical resistance to produce light.
    Synonyms: bulb, glow-lamp, incandescent lamp, (Australia) light globe
  2. (by extension) An article that resembles such a bulb and converts electricity to light by any process.
    a fluorescent light bulb
    an LED light bulb
  3. (figuratively) Used in reference to the sudden arrival of a realization, an inspiration, an idea, or the like.
    a light bulb moment
    • 1949, Forbes[1], volume 64, page 18:
      Figuratively speaking, a light-bulb flashed over Galvin's head early this year, and in March–along []
    • 2010, Sandy Abrams, Your Idea, Inc.[2], Abrams Media, →ISBN, page xi:
      A light bulb went off in my head as I had an incredible idea for a beauty product.

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