1. A light-producing vessel, instrument or apparatus; especially, a vessel with a wick used for the combustion of oil or other inflammable liquid, for the purpose of producing artificial light.
2. Figuratively, anything which enlightens intellectually or morally; anything regarded metaphorically a performing the uses of a lamp. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Ps. Cxix. 105) Ages elapsed ere Homer’s lamp appeared. (Cowper)
3. (Science: physics) a device or mechanism for producing light by electricity. See incandescent lamp, under incandescent. Aeolipile lamp, a hollow ball of copper containing alcohol which is converted into vapor by a lamp beneath, so as to make a powerful blowpipe flame when the vapor is ignited.
arc lamp, any brachiopod shell of the genus terebratula and allied genera. The name refers to the shape, which is like that of an antique lamp. See terebratula. Safety lamp, a miners lamp in which the flame is surrounded by fine wire gauze, preventing the kindling of dangerous explosive gases; called also, from Sir Humphry Davy the inventor, Davy lamp. To smell of the lamp, to bear marks of great study and labour, as a literary composition.
Origin: f. Lampe, L. Lampas, -adis, fr. Gr, torch, fr. To give light, to shine. Cf. Lampad, lantern.