A candle in a candle stick

A candle is an ignitable wick embedded in wax, or another flammable solid substance such as tallow, that provides light, and in some cases, a fragrance. A candle can also provide heat, or be used as a method of keeping time. The candle can be used during the event of a power outage to provide light.

A person who makes candles is traditionally known as a chandler.[1] Various devices have been invented to hold candles, from simple tabletop candlesticks, also known as candle holders, to elaborate chandeliers.[2]

For a candle to burn, a heat source (commonly a naked flame) is used to light the candle's wick, which melts and vaporizes a small amount of fuel (the wax). Once vaporized, the fuel combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to ignite and form a constant flame. This flame provides sufficient heat to keep the candle burning via a self-sustaining chain of events: the heat of the flame melts the top of the mass of solid fuel; the liquefied fuel then moves upward through the wick via capillary action; the liquefied fuel finally vaporizes to burn within the candle's flame.

As the fuel (wax) is melted and burned, the candle becomes shorter. Portions of the wick that are not emitting vaporized fuel are consumed in the flame. The incineration of the wick limits the exposed length of the wick, thus maintaining a constant burning temperature and rate of fuel consumption. Some wicks require regular trimming with scissors (or a specialized wick trimmer), usually to about one-quarter inch (~0.7 cm), to promote slower, steady burning, and also to prevent smoking. Special candle-scissors called "snuffers" were produced for this purpose in the 20th century and were often combined with an extinguisher. In modern candles, the wick is constructed so that it curves over as it burns. This ensures that the end of the wick gets oxygen and is then consumed by fire—a self-trimming wick.[3]


The word candle comes from Middle English candel, from Old English and from Anglo-Norman candele, both from Latin candēla, from candēre, to shine.[4]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kers
አማርኛ: ሻማ
العربية: شمعة
azərbaycanca: Şam (işıq)
বাংলা: মোমবাতি
беларуская: Свечка
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Сьвечка
български: Свещ
brezhoneg: Kantol
català: Espelma
Чӑвашла: Çурта
čeština: Svíčka
Cymraeg: Cannwyll
Deutsch: Kerze
eesti: Küünal
Esperanto: Kandelo
euskara: Kandela
فارسی: شمع
français: Bougie
Gaeilge: Coinneal
Gaelg: Cainle
galego: Candea
贛語: 蠟燭
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐌻𐌿𐌺𐌰𐍂𐌽
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: La̍p-tsuk
한국어: 양초
हिन्दी: मोमबत्ती
hrvatski: Svijeća
Ido: Kandelo
Bahasa Indonesia: Lilin
Iñupiak: Patiq
íslenska: Kerti
עברית: נר
Jawa: Lilin
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಮೋಂಬತ್ತಿ
қазақша: Балауыз шам
Kiswahili: Mshumaa
Latina: Cereus
latviešu: Svece
Lëtzebuergesch: Käerz
lietuvių: Žvakė
lumbaart: Candela
magyar: Gyertya
македонски: Свеќа
മലയാളം: മെഴുകുതിരി
Bahasa Melayu: Lilin
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Iòng-ciók
Nederlands: Kaars
Nedersaksies: Keerse
日本語: ろうそく
norsk nynorsk: Levande lys
occitan: Candèla
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਮੋਮਬੱਤੀ
Patois: Kianggl
Picard: Candelle
polski: Świeca
português: Vela
română: Lumânare
Runa Simi: Wariqulli
русский: Свеча
Scots: Caunle
shqip: Qiriu
sicilianu: Cannila
Simple English: Candle
slovenčina: Svieca
slovenščina: Sveča
Soomaaliga: Shumac
کوردی: مۆم
српски / srpski: Свећа
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Sveća
Basa Sunda: Lilin
suomi: Kynttilä
svenska: Levande ljus
Tagalog: Kandila
తెలుగు: కొవ్వొత్తి
тоҷикӣ: Шамъ
Türkçe: Mum
українська: Свічка
Tiếng Việt: Nến
West-Vlams: Keise
Winaray: Kandila
ייִדיש: ליכט (לעמפל)
粵語: 蠟燭
žemaitėška: Žvakė
中文: 蜡烛