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Can"dle (?), n. [OE. candel, candel, AS, candel, fr. L. candela a (white) light made of wax or tallow, fr. candëre to be white. See Candid, and cf. Chandler, Cannel, Kindle.] 1. A slender, cylindrical body of tallow, containing a wick composed of loosely twisted linen of cotton threads, and used to furnish light.
How far that little candle throws his beams! Shak.
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
&hand_; Candles are usually made by repeatedly dipping the wicks in the melted tallow, etc. (“dipped candles”), or by casting or running in a mold.
2. That which gives light; a luminary.
By these blessed candles of the night. Shak.
Candle nut, the fruit of a euphorbiaceous shrub (Aleurites triloba), a native of some of the Pacific islands; -- socalled because, when dry, it will burn with a bright flame, and is used by the natives as a candle. The oil has many uses. -- Candle power (Photom.), illuminating power, as of a lamp, or gas flame, reckoned in terms of the light of a standard candle. -- Electric candle, A modification of the electric arc lamp, in which the carbon rods, instead of being placed end to end, are arranged side by side, and at a distance suitable for the formation of the arc at the tip; -- called also, from the name of the inventor, Jablockoff candle. -- Excommunication by inch of candle, a form of excommunication in which the offender is allowed time to repent only while a candle burns. -- Not worth the candle, not worth the cost or trouble. -- Rush candle, a candle made of the pith of certain rushes, peeled except on one side, and dipped in grease. -- Sale by inch of candle, an auction in which persons are allowed to bid only till a small piece of candle burns out. -- Standard candle (Photom.), a special form of candle employed as a standard in photometric measurements; usually, a candle of spermaceti so constructed as to burn at the rate of 120 grains, or 7.8 grams, per hour. -- To curse by bell, book and candle. See under Bell.