Definition of neon in US English:



  • 1The chemical element of atomic number 10, an inert gaseous element of the noble gas group. It is obtained by the distillation of liquid air and is used in fluorescent lamps and advertising signs.

    • ‘It combines easily and even explosively with every other element except helium, neon, and argon.’
    • ‘Oxygen lacks two electrons compared with neon, the nearest noble gas.’
    • ‘When they do, they produce neon - 21, a stable isotope of that noble gas.’
    • ‘It is the sixth most abundant gas in the atmosphere after nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, and neon.’
    • ‘The model relies on an assumed mix of carbon, neon, nitrogen, and oxygen within the zone to predict one depth, whereas the data suggest another depth.’
    • ‘Stuff coming in at below 0.01 percent include neon, helium, methane, hydrogen, nitrous oxide, and ozone.’
    • ‘In the same year, Ramsay and Travers discovered two other noble gases, xenon and neon.’
    • ‘Gas lasers use gases such as argon, carbon dioxide, neon, and nitrogen.’
    • ‘The noble gases helium, neon, argon, krypton, and xenon display fairly simple chemistry in material of solar composition.’
    • ‘The lowest temperatures will convert hydrogen into helium, then the next highest temperatures will convert helium into carbon, oxygen and neon largely.’
    • ‘Two copies of the column with the noble gases, such as helium and neon, bracket the table like bookends.’
    • ‘A comparison of the ionization potentials of neon and argon will illustrate these principles.’
    • ‘They attributed those lines to the presence of three new elements, which they named neon, krypton, and xenon.’
    • ‘Xenon lamps-as well as all noble gas lamps such as neon and argon - rely on the same science as some other lights in the night, i.e., the aurora.’
    • ‘Over the next few years many types of laser were built, some using a mixture of helium and neon, others carbon dioxide or organic dyes.’
    • ‘It has lent its guarded endorsement to KAN - an acronym of krypton, argon and neon.’
    • ‘Some of the electrons of the neon atoms in the tube absorb energy in this process and then emit it in the form of an intense red light that is characteristic of the element neon.’
    • ‘A plasma monitor often consists of two panels, which are filled with an inert gas, such as xenon or neon.’
    • ‘The sodium ion has the same electron configuration as neon, the noble gas immediately before it on the Periodic Table.’
    1. 1.1 Fluorescent lighting or signs (whether containing neon or some other gas)
      ‘the lobby of the hotel was bright with neon’
      • ‘It often amazes me that people think if you walk down a street you would be able to tell who is a witch, but I do not agree, we do not go around with bright neon signs above our heads.’
      • ‘Just like a fluorescent light, neon signs are glass tubes filled with gas.’
      • ‘The action plays out in the light of headlamps, neon bar signs and moonlight through slatted blinds.’
      • ‘There is more to it than the rubber that is burnt, the minutes that tick away and the series of street lamps and bright neon signs that flash by.’
      • ‘Taiwanese food shops and single-storey buildings with Taiwanese-style neon signs line the streets.’
      • ‘It was six blocks of lights and flashing neon signs.’
      • ‘I felt a strong repulsion for him, but kept following as I appreciated those tall buildings illuminated by neon lamps and the electronic advertisements.’
      • ‘Now I am not taken in by the mirage: I know that these are merely street lamps along the avenues, neon signs, and headlights.’
      • ‘We wandered the narrow neon lit streets of Shinjuku, turning down offers of girls from burly bouncers, and sampling some of the numerous small bars to be found in this district.’
      • ‘As soon as that, the four went off causing havoc around the city, stealing electricity from neon signs, streetlights, power boxes, and more.’
      • ‘Call it the difference between discreet concealed lighting and a flashing red neon sign.’
      • ‘Maybe we could tell readers that cricket is a game played in trench coats, in dingy offices lit by neon signs blinking through venetian slats.’
      • ‘The joint fairly jumped under the glow of fluorescent lights and neon beer signs when I stepped through the door last night.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the bright neon sign did not emit infrared light.’
      • ‘Inside, dim lighting vies with a neon sign flashing the names of the dancers - who are, incidentally, covered up in bikinis and stockings due to the state's no nudity law.’
      • ‘With the oncoming of darkness, Tokyo city became alive with bright neon signs.’
      • ‘Lots of lights, neon signs and flood-lit fountains are the norm for this type of photograph.’
      • ‘On your left is the approaching bulk of a station - sitting there majestically, neon signs spinning and lights streaming forth.’
      • ‘He invented neon and fluorescent lighting, and the humble little AC electric motor that you find throughout all modern industrialised societies.’
      • ‘As fantastical neon signs and lanterns extended the hours of daylight, I was seized by a desperate need to recapture my lost youth.’
    2. 1.2 A small lamp containing neon.
      • ‘And neons are something easy, but maybe a bit too flashy… hehe…’
      • ‘Whether you're a spy, a misanthrope, just having a bad hair day, or you're one of those worker bees who plod along day after day shackled to a monitor under neons that flicker 60 times a second, Zen Ya provides a little temporary refuge.’
      • ‘Her lab and living quarters were fully decorated with patterns, cuts, objects of art, along with several lights and neons of yellow and red colors; her two favorites.’
      • ‘New Year's Eve 2004: I skittered down to Elk Grove, Calif., on Highway 99 with rain boiling my windshield; obscuring my view save for suburban neons, crimson taillights, and scant highlights of freeway signs only legible from 10 feet away.’
      • ‘A lot of drivers are unsettled by the confusing combination of in-car lights and the dazzling night-time neons on the outside.’
      • ‘I can just picture that driving around with a few neons under it, can't you?’
      • ‘So there go my aspirations of editing my inbox to have Sciby confess his want for some neons to put on the underside of his car.’
      • ‘The brightly-colored corollas accompanying the pair won't stand daylight: dingy and perishable as moth-wings burned to ashtray dust, at dawn when the neons, laundry-bright the previous dusk, are dull and soiled.’
      • ‘The air was sweet as a cool bath, the stars were peeping noisily beyond the their neons, and the citizens of the Queendom, in their jeans and separates, were floating down the Shaftesbury avenue canals, like gondolas.’
      • ‘Soft lighting provides ‘a nice break from the intrusive neons of Shanghai’, opines one recent patron.’
      • ‘Perhaps there are already heaps of cars out there with neons too?’
      • ‘Never fix your neons, just constantly jiggle the wires until they go on.’
      • ‘The plastic on the skin of the case is quite transparent under light, and would look quite good if lit up with a neon.’
      • ‘A guy who installs underbody neons and drives around with his 15’ subwoofer pounding 24/7 is probably overly self-assured and cocky, not to mention compensating for his inadequate manhood.’
    3. 1.3 Very bright or fluorescent in color.
      ‘a denim cap outlined in neon’
      as modifier ‘we bought ourselves neon bandannas’
      • ‘Now I have on a bright neon lime green T-shirt and I'm not a small girl, so you can't miss me.’
      • ‘I casually thumbed through - guys with bright neon trunks, guys with washboard stomachs, guys with fetishes and guys with other guys adorned the glossy pages.’
      • ‘Many choose boldface letters, or add drop-shadows or slanting or underlines or neon outlines or animation.’
      • ‘After coating the face of your driver with the neon green paint, you'll get a clear idea of where you're hitting the ball.’
      • ‘Encino Man missed the '80s by a couple of years, but is firmly stuck in the neon clothes and ‘Party on!’’
      • ‘Rual turned on the faucet and grabbed the neon green sponge.’
      • ‘Unlike most other designs this season's London Fashion Week has seen so far, his outfits are splashed with strong colours from bright yellow across neon shades to strong reds and purples.’
      • ‘The colour is a very close match to the colour of my neon green perspex!’
      • ‘Catherine reached out with a trembling hand and touched the neon police tape.’
      • ‘Please refrain from wearing brighter colours like pink, bright green, and neon yellow.’
      • ‘You might have noticed that there appears to be a bit of variation in the opacity and colour of the neon green perspex used throughout the case.’
      • ‘They traced a path to a repository on the far side of the room, a row of bright, neon green cubes.’
      • ‘From glamorous beach goddess to surf chic and neon brights there are sure to be styles and colours to suit everyone.’
      • ‘Also at Savers, I bought a neon red trucker cap, on which I used a black texta to write ‘Does my brain look big in this?’’
      • ‘The frame is eye-blindingly bright in trashy neon yellow and the soft thermal lens is tinted orange for your viewing pleasure.’
      • ‘They would get up to about a foot long and were almost neon green in colour.’
      • ‘The terrain is steep but so rewarding, so vastly unpopulated and un-skied, and so void of the neon jumpsuits and fur-lined boots crowd.’
      • ‘You have a blank, bright neon face, a white room, clean but still blank.’
      • ‘As she was about to turn down her hallway, a bright neon paper caught her eye.’
      • ‘I keep on hitting the neon ball back, whipping my racquet at it.’


Late 19th century: from Greek, literally ‘something new’, neuter of the adjective neos.