Definition of candle in English:


Syllabification: can·dle
Pronunciation: /ˈkandl


  • 1A cylinder or block of wax or tallow with a central wick that is lit to produce light as it burns.
    More example sentences
    • Light candles and burn oils to create a restful and tranquil environment.
    • She produces a lighter and the single candle on the table flickers into life alongside the vase of white flowers
    • Winstanley climbed up to the lantern and lit a dozen tallow candles.
    taper, votive (candle), pillar (candle), tea light
    archaic glim
  • 1.1 (also international candle) Physics A unit of luminous intensity, superseded by the candela.
    More example sentences
    • The intensity of a 60-watt lamp is very nearly 60 candles.
    • The unit of light intensity in the USA, England and France is the international candle.
    • The abscissae give the brilliance measured in international candles per square millimetre.


[with object] Back to top  
  • (Of a poultry breeder) test (an egg) for freshness or fertility by holding it to the light.
    More example sentences
    • He candled the eggs - checking them against a flame for defects - and took deliveries, but left grammar school with no wish to join the business.
    • We found nests during incubation, and estimated the hatching date by candling eggs.
    • Eggs were candled to determine incubation stage, and laying dates were calculated by backdating.


be unable to hold a candle to

informal Be not nearly as good as: nobody in the final could hold a candle to her
More example sentences
  • At that time, Ric couldn't hold a candle to what they were doing.
  • He dropped out of school at 16 because books couldn't hold a candle to golf and began studying visiting professionals.
  • I'd return the favor but you know I couldn't hold a candle to you.



Pronunciation: /ˈkandlər, -dl-ər/
More example sentences
  • Eggs to be examined for hatching success were candled by using a portable candler at both the mid-stage and late-stage of parental incubation to determine embryo developmental stage and viability.
  • An egg candler can be purchased, or a flashlight can be used.
  • In previous studies of waterfowl, we used field candlers to age embryos in eggs because candlers are a rapid, simple, and accurate method.


Old English candel, from Latin candela, from candere 'be white or glisten'.

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