When the Sun or the Moon shines through a window, there's a corresponding bright spot on the floor or wall. Conversely, when an object blocks light, it casts a shadow. What would the term be for this opposite?

EDIT: I'm searching for a word that describes the bright spot, not the shadow.

Maybe some context will help.

I have this large picture window in my living room that, on the night of a full Moon, produces this stunning effect after Moonrise. When describing it, I find myself saying:

"If you turn out the lights, the moonlight entering the window casts an eerily beautiful {{word}} on the opposite wall."

Best I've come up with so far is sheen.

  • 1
    @PeterPoint You're fun. Oct 27, 2016 at 5:16
  • 2
    A pool of light?
    – BoldBen
    Oct 27, 2016 at 8:58
  • 3
    @BoldBen: I think he's saying it's just the outline of the window, making a very clear, crisp patch of light on the opposite wall.
    – herisson
    Oct 27, 2016 at 18:43
  • 1
    Shadow is just another word for darkness. The opposite of a shadow would be a ray or beam of light. Technically there's not a word for "the spot on the floor where a shadow falls" so I wouldn't expect there to be an antonym.
    – sanpaco
    Oct 28, 2016 at 1:35
  • 3
    I would generally call the spot a sunbeam or moonbeam. When people use those terms they are quite often referring to the "spot" produced, vs the (invisible) beam of light moving through the atmosphere.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 28, 2016 at 3:05

4 Answers 4


I did a great amount of digging for this, but I think we all might agree that there might not be a word to uniquely describe this phenomenon. I went through a large amount of solar and planetary terminology to make certain there wasn't anything I was missing.

While "sheen" is probably acceptable, I would offer up the alternative of "glow".

The moonlight through the window cast an eerie glow onto the wall.


Dapple: a patch or spot of color or light.

It's usually used in a context where there are many such patches ("The sun-dappled forest floor"), so it's not a perfect fit but it does describe a patch of light.


Both theater terminology and physics jargon seem to agree that beams of light create hot spots.

  • Tonight we shall not require a lamp for our play, as the moon is providing a natural hot spot.

Hot Spot, the musical


I have used the term "sun puddle" for sunbeams on floors.

Urban Dictionary has this definition with about 15 upvotes, so its not just me.

I have no word for a "moon puddle" though. "Moon pool" feels right, but that's already taken to mean something else.

I have no word for either light source on a wall.

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