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I’m interested in the definition and connotation of lucid when it comes to physical objects: what does a lucid object look like?

From Merriam-Webster:

  • suffused with light : luminous
  • translucent <snorkeling in the lucid sea>

From Dictionary.com:

  • shining or bright.
  • clear; pellucid; transparent.

From these definitions, it seems like the term lucid can describe stars in the night sky, light bulbs, the ocean in Aruba, and wine glasses.

Is this true? Are some of those objects more correctly associated with the word lucid than with the words bright, glowing, or transparent?

Also, links to any images containing lucid objects would be great.

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google images for lucid –  Mitch Jun 14 '13 at 14:50
Tried that before asking this question. It doesn't work. –  rd11 Jun 14 '13 at 16:16
In what way doesn't it work. As is, your question is not very constructive. We only get that you're not happy with some situation regarding the term 'lucid' and some objects. But it is not clear how you are unhappy there. You need to give some specific examples of when the word lucid is either good or not. –  Mitch Jun 14 '13 at 18:56
Did you try searching for lucid? You get advertisements of products with the term "lucid" in them, along with a few other seemingly-random images. –  rd11 Jun 14 '13 at 19:38
I have always thought of lucid as having connotations of clarity and simplicity. –  Gnawme Jun 19 '13 at 22:54

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The following examples from the public-domain New English Dictionary should give you a good idea of how lucid has been used in each of its senses:

Lucid (liū·sid), a. [ad. L. lūcid-us, f. lūcēre to shine. Cf. F. lucide.]

1. Bright, shining, luminous, resplendent. Now poet. and techn. Ent. and Bot. = Smooth and shining. Astr. Of a star: Visible to the naked eye.

1591 SPENSER M. Hubberd 1259 With his azure wings he cleav’d The liquid clowdes, and lucid firmament.
1654 VILVAIN Theol. Treat. ii. 45 The Air is not a lucid body like the Sun.
1667 MILTON P. L. XI. 240 Over his lucid Armes A Militarie Vest of purple flowd.
1693 BENTLEY Boyle Lect. vii. 5 There are great multitudes of lucid Starrs even beyond the reach of the best Telescopes.
1772–84 COOK Voy. (1790) V. 1743 Supposed to be an animal which contributes to that lucid appearance often observed at sea in the night.
1797 Encycl. Brit. (ed. 3) III. 443/2 [Botany.] A Surface is .. Lucid, as if it were illuminated.
1800 HULME in Phil. Trans. XC. 180 Another lucid dead glow-worm was put into warm water, at 114°.
1833 TENNYSON Poems 60 Her lucid neck Shone ivorylike.
1845 WESTWOOD Brit. Moths II. 221 Aphelosetia lucidella (the lucid).
1847 W. E. STEELE Field Bot. Gloss. 16 Lucid, with a bright and shining surface.
1870–74 J. THOMSON City Dreadf. Nt. 1. i, The lucid morning’s fragrant breath.
1893 SIR R. BALL Story Sun 333 Beta Lyræ .. is among the coolest of the lucid stars.
fig. a 1652 J. SMITH Sel. Disc. iv. 112 The intellectual world, being .. made all lucid, intellectual, and shining with the sunbeams of eternal truth.
1742 BARNARD Char. Lady E. Hastings 39 To bring them into the lucid Path of Vertue and Religion.

2. Translucid, pellucid, clear.

1620 VENNER Via Recta Introd. 4 The lucide and cleare substance of it [sc. air].
1647 H. MORE Poems 5 Thus they stood by that good lucid spring Of living bliss.
1725 POPE Odyss. VI. 102 The lucid wave a spacious bason fills.
1791 COWPER Odyss. III. I The sun, emerging from the lucid waves.
1832 LYTTON Eugene A. I. x, How singularly pure and lucid the atmosphere becomes.
1882 F. W. H. MYERS Renewal of Youth 314 Let many a heat distil Her lucid essence from the resurgent ill.

3. Lucid interval. Also in early use in med.L. form (pl.) lucida intervalla.

a. A period of temporary sanity occurring between attacks of lunacy. (So F. intervalle lucide.) † Formerly also, in wider use, an interval of apparent health between the attacks or periods of a disease.

[The Latin phrase ‘non est compos mentis, sed gaudet lucidis intervallis’ is common in English legal documents from the 13th to the 15 c.; so also in the med.L. commentators on Justinian’s Institutes. For the etymological notion presumably underlying the expression, cf. c.]
1603 SIR C. HEYDON Jud. Astrol. xxi. 425 Sometimes shee [the moon] graunteth to them [lunatics] Lucida interualla.
1625 B. JONSON Staple of N. v. i, They are almost mad! But I forgiue their Lucida Interualla.
c 1645 HOWELL Lett. (1650) II. 42, I had a shrewd disease hung lately upon me. .. After som gentle slumbers, and unusuall dreames .. I had a lucid intervall. a 1655 VINES Lord’s Supper (1677) 213 A mad man may have lucid intervals.
1659 STANLEY Hist. Philos. XIII. (1701) 624/2 As for that Pain which is lasting, it is not only gentle, but hath many lucid intervals.
1686 J. DUNTON Lett. fr. New-Eng. (1867) 23, I had between whiles those lucid intervals [in sea-sickness].
1769 BLACKSTONE Comm. IV. 25 If a lunatic hath lucid intervals of understanding, he shall answer for what he does in those intervals.
1839 I. RAY Med. Jurispr. Insanity xiv. 298 It was decided by the court, Sir Willian Wynne, that she had a lucid interval, while making the will.
a 1859 MACAULAY Hist. Eng. XXV. V. 294 James lingered three days longer. He was occasionally sensible during a few minutes, and, during one of these lucid intervals [etc.].

b. transf. and fig. A period of rest or calm in the midst of tumult or confusion; an interval during which there is a reversion to a normal, reasonalbe, or desirable condition.

1581 W. ALLEN Apol. Eng. Seminaries iii. 22 Which [Arianisme] though it troubled the world some hundred yeres together, yet it .. had lucida interualla, gaue seasons of calme and rest to holy Bishops.
1622 BACON Hen. VII Wks. 1861 VI. 32 Which [dissensions] although they had had .. lucid intervals and happy pauses; yet did they ever hang over the kingdom.
1650 FULLER Pisgah IV. ii. 34 The devil heaped afflictions upon him, allowing him [Job] no lucid intervalls.
1682 DRYDEN MacFl. 22 Some beams of wit on other souls may fall, Strike through and make a lucid interval.
1751 SMOLLETT Per. Pic. xxii, Neither was his whole time devoted to the riotous extravagances of youth. He enjoyed many lucid intervals.
1822 R. G. WALLACE 15 Yrs. in India 194 It is quite impossible to transact business with a chief, except in that lucid interval between .. one debauch and .. another.
1900 19th Cent. Sept. 386 Italy is just passing through one of these lucid intervals.

¶ c. In the etymological sense: An interval of sunshine in a storm.

1655 TUCKNEY Good Day well Impr. 8 Some short lucida intervalla, as the sun in a rainy day, looking out now and then a little.
1749 CAPT. STANDIGE in Naval Chron. III. 207 It being then day-light, and a lucid interval between showers of snow.

4. Marked by clearness of reasoning, expression, or arrangement; easily intelligible.

1786 COURTENAY Lit. & Mor. Charac. Johnson 24 And lucid vigour mark’d the general style.
1803 Med. Jrnl. X. 182 Arranged in that lucid order which is so necessary to assist the student.
1838 DICKENS Nich. Nick. xxiv, Mrs. Curdle sat listening to this lucid explanation.
1871 MORLEY Voltaire (1886) 7 His expression was incomparably lucid.
1876 C. M. DAVIES Unorth. Lond. 103 The sermon was long but lucid.

5. Of persons: Clear in intellect; rational, sane.

1843 CARLYLE Past & Pr. II. i, Any lucid simple-hearted soul like him.
1859 G. MEREDITH R. Feverel xxx, TWO apparently lucid people.
1887 Times 11 Aug. 5/2, I believe you are insane on that one point. On everything else you are lucid and bright.

6. With agent-noun: That performs the action implied in a lucid manner.

1879 McCARTHY Own Times II. xxix. 372 There never was a more lucid and candid reasoner.

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