I had an idea... (insert Light Bulb emoji that DL does not support)

A lot of us are confused by the different words for lighting. A couple years ago now I had made a post on one of the exercise discussions that maybe would be useful to others so I thought I would post it here in the general PT discussion board as well.

Turns out that one of the reasons it is difficult is just English in general that has words that overlap in meaning (for example: "a lamp" can also be "a light" as in, "turn on the light").

But, another wrinkle these days is International English which is the language of the lighting industry (so much bigger and widespread than you might imagine) and is a bit different calling, "lightbulbs" (bulbs) as lamps, and "lamps" (as in "desk lamp") as luminaires (which, in the plural is not in my spel-chek):

Portable light fixtures are often called lamps, as in table lamp or desk lamp. In technical terminology, the lamp is the light source, which, in casual terminology, is called the light bulb. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) recommends the term luminaire for technical use [when referring to lamps/light fixtures].

A light fixture (US English), light fitting (UK English), or luminaire is an electrical device that contains an electric lamp that provides illumination. All light fixtures have a fixture body and one or more lamps. The lamps may be in sockets for easy replacement—or, in the case of some LED fixtures, hard-wired in place.

Fixtures may also have a switch to control the light, either attached to the lamp body or attached to the power cable. Permanent light fixtures, such as dining room chandeliers, may have no switch on the fixture itself, but rely on a wall switch.

Fixtures require an electrical connection to a power source, typically AC mains power, but some run on battery power for camping or emergency lights. Permanent lighting fixtures are directly wired. Movable lamps have a plug and cord that plugs into a wall socket.

In a way, this International English is good because it is more in line and similar to the Portuguese, as you will see.

So what we have in the end is:

Luminária means "light fixture" (what holds the light producing part, bulb, or if a lantern, the wick) while lâmpada means "bulb"; and lampião is used for "lantern" aka "oil lamp" with; lustre essentially referring to a fixed light usually in a ceiling like a "chandelier" or "pendent lamp" but could also be in a garden (basically a light that you cannot just unplug to use in another room or house); while luz means "light" or, in other words what is actually produced by all these (so many subtle differences to mean so many things, in both languages).

Lampião (sometimes aka Lanterna and apprently also, "lamparina" if using liquid fuel but not here on Duo, or several other sites):

Includes gas street lights:

Luminária: (the fixture the bulb goes in; bulb being "lamp" in International English):

If it came in green then these could be the official Duo Owl Night Lights:

Well, at least they are Portuguese =)


Generally a fixed light often in the ceiling as chandeliers or pendent lamps. The photo above (if it is still there :D) shows several types.



And just to confuse things a bit...


And the English word, "Luster" (lustre in BrEN) is "Brilho" in Portuguese:

Hope this helps a bit. :)

April 28, 2019


Where you wrote "Lampião" the image is of a "Lamparina". Lampião produces light from some gas and Lamparina from a liquid, usually kerosene.

Onde você escreveu Lampião a imagem é de uma Lamparina. O lampião produz luz a partir de um gás e a lamparina produz luz a partir de um líquido, geralmente querosene.

April 29, 2019

Thank you. I appreciate the new (to me) word.

However, most sites seem to support "lampião" as an oil or kerosene lamp including here on Duo (it is what originally spurred me to pull these comments and pics together):ós-não-temos-óleo-para-o-lampiãoãoão

May 20, 2019
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