One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1another name for Satan
2literary The planet Venus when it rises in the morning.
3luciferarchaic A match struck by rubbing it on a rough surface.
- ‘Leaning sideways and striking a lucifer against the toenails on the elephant foot umbrella stand, Dimpler thoughtfully lit his last Cuban.’
- ‘A quantity of lucifers were in his cart ignited and Jones with his horses were burnt to death.’
Old English, from Latin, ‘light-bringing, morning star’, from lux, luc- ‘light’ + -fer ‘bearing’. Lucifer (sense 1) is by association with the ‘son of the morning’ (Isa. 14:12), believed by Christian interpreters to be a reference to Satan.
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