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"


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.


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.


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

  • I don't think many ordinary native speakers of English know the word "crepuscular" unless they are weather enthusiasts. – Silas S. Brown Feb 16 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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.