—n. 1. a long, usually slender piece of tallow or wax with an embedded wick that is burned to give light.
2. something resembling a candle in appearance or use.
3. Optics. a. (formerly) candela.
b. Also calledinternational candle. a unit of luminous intensity, defined as a fraction of the luminous intensity of a group of 45 carbon-filament lamps: used from 1909 to 1948 as the international standard.
c. a unit of luminous intensity, equal to the luminous intensity of a wax candle of standard specifications: used prior to 1909 as the international standard. Abbr.: c., c
4. burn the candle at both ends. See burn (def. 43).
5. hold a candle to, to compare favorably with (usually used in the negative): She's smart, but she can't hold a candle to her sister. 6. worth the candle, worth the trouble or effort involved (usually used in the negative): Trying to win them over to your viewpoint is not worth the candle.
—v.t. 1. to examine (eggs) for freshness, fertility, etc., by holding them up to a bright light.
2. to hold (a bottle of wine) in front of a lighted candle while decanting so as to detect sediment and prevent its being poured off with the wine.