Words That Describe Light

Photo by Karine Germain on Unsplash

“Light” is an important word to describe. Light is often an integral part of what you are describing; this is particularly true when describing colors or lighting effects. So, when writing about light, it is vital to use the word accurately.

There is an infographic floating around, and I’ve included it in text form because I also alphabetized it and split some of the words that were separated by a forward slash.

Anthropomorphic Traits

  • Alert
  • Beckoning
  • Comforting
  • Concealing
  • Dancing
  • Depressing
  • Erratic
  • Fickle
  • Forgiving
  • Frugal
  • Gentle
  • Harsh
  • Intimidating
  • Inviting
  • Kind
  • Lively
  • Lonely
  • Longevity
  • Mean
  • Mysterious
  • Nostalgic
  • Offensive
  • Optimistic
  • Overpowering
  • Patronizing
  • Pessimistic
  • Powerful
  • Relentless
  • Restrained
  • Revealing
  • Ruthless
  • Searching
  • Secretive
  • Somber
  • Superficial
  • Suspicious
  • Unrelenting
  • Welcoming

Light sources

  • Aurora
  • Beacon
  • Bulb
  • Candle
  • Daybreak
  • Fire
  • Firefly
  • Flame
  • Floodlight
  • Lantern
  • Limelight
  • Moonlight
  • Prism
  • Spark
  • Spotlight
  • Starburst
  • Starlight
  • Sunbeam
  • Sunlight
  • Sunrise
  • Sunset

Physical behaviors

  • Beam
  • Bend
  • Brighten
  • Burn
  • Burst
  • Cast
  • Crowd
  • Diffuse
  • Downpour
  • Enduring
  • Filter through
  • Flare
  • Flash
  • Flicker
  • Flood
  • Flow
  • Glare
  • Gleam
  • Glimmer
  • Glint
  • Glitter
  • Glow
  • Illuminate
  • Inflame
  • Kindle
  • Lighten
  • Lower
  • Meld
  • Melt
  • Probing
  • Radiate
  • Reflect
  • Refract
  • Rise
  • Scatter
  • Seep
  • Settle onto
  • Shine
  • Shower
  • Shut
  • Sit onto
  • Sparkle
  • Spectrum
  • Spill
  • Split
  • Wave
  • Wavelength

Physical descriptions

  • Ablaze
  • Aglow
  • Angled
  • Aspect
  • Blinding
  • Bright
  • Brilliant
  • Burnished
  • Clear
  • Cloudless
  • Cloudy
  • Cold
  • Colorful
  • Concentrated
  • Confined
  • Contained
  • Curved
  • Dark
  • Deep
  • Dense
  • Dim
  • Distinct
  • Divided
  • Dull
  • Dusty
  • Faint
  • Fast
  • Fractional
  • Fragmentary
  • Fresh
  • Ghostly
  • Glossy
  • Hard
  • Heavy
  • High
  • Hot
  • Indistinct
  • Lambent
  • Linear
  • Long
  • Long-lived
  • Low
  • Lucent
  • Luminous
  • Luster
  • Lustrous
  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Musky
  • Neutral
  • Obscured
  • Parallel
  • Pitch
  • Polished
  • Pulsing
  • Quick
  • Ray
  • Refulgent
  • Resplendent
  • Rich
  • Scintillated
  • Sectional
  • Segmented
  • Sepia
  • Shadow
  • Shallow
  • Sharp
  • Sheen
  • Short-lived
  • Single
  • Slant
  • Slight
  • Slow
  • Smooth
  • Soft
  • Sparse
  • Spectral
  • Splendor
  • Strong
  • Sunny
  • Swift
  • Thick
  • Thin
  • Tidal
  • Unclouded
  • Warm
  • Weak

Types

  • Fluorescent
  • Highlight
  • Incandescent
  • Lowlight
  • Luminescent
  • Phosphorescent
  • White
  • Yellow

It’s the 21st century, and we’ve come a long way since the invention of the light bulb. So think about it: what does the color temperature of light do to the overall feel of a room? Apply that thought to your story. How can light – or dark – change the story that you’re attempting to tell?

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Guilliean Pacheco (she/her) is a writer and editor of color, but you may also know her as the host of the Raconteuse Radio podcast. Her work has appeared in Nevada Humanities and Helen. She has an M.F.A. in Writing from the University of San Francisco. She’s a misplaced California girl who lives in Las Vegas normally if one could call living there normal. Follow her on Twitter.

Use Your Words