Is there a word for "the sunlight that streams into a room through the window, or a crack in the curtain or through a skylight"


5 Answers 5


These are also called shafts of light

Shaft: 5. Something suggestive of a spear or arrow in appearance or configuration, as: a. A ray or beam of light.1

From Shakespeare: The Two Traditions:

A shaft of light falls on the scene as the young-looking Fortinbras enters...

1 American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


How about sunbeams or rays of sunlight? The meaning of these terms is a little broader than the specific context you're talking about, but I can't think of a better word.

Sunbeam here is defined as:

a beam, ray, or stream of sunlight.


Crepuscular ray, while technically a reference to twilight sun, is often used figuratively for rays of sunshine in other situations.

  • 1
    I don't think many ordinary native speakers of English know the word "crepuscular" unless they are weather enthusiasts. Commented Feb 16, 2019 at 2:20

How about streaks of sunlight? Google Books

streak: a narrow band of light M-W

Alternately, you might want to consider streams and flickers [of sunlight]. Google Books

stream: a ray of light M-W

flicker: a wavering light M-W

bars, bands, and strips are also possible options. Ngram


An additional term is god rays, often used as a synonym of crepuscular rays in particular.

It is regularly used in the gaming industry to refer to the capability of a graphical engine to render volumetric lighting, by means of which light is seemingly scattered when travelling through non-solid objects (like air).

Although I believe it is commonly known in the CGI world, neither Merriam-Webster, Collins nor Dictionary.com have an entry for this term. Wikipedia's Sunbeams page seems to be the most prominent semi-authoritative website mentioning the phrase.

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