What is this kind of lamp called? To call it simply a "lamp" doesn't makes sense to me, nor to call it a "chandelier", since I've noticed that "chandelier" refers to an impressive group of lamps which hang from a ceiling. I would like to know what this usual kind of lamp facility is called?

NB honestly I don't know what to call it even in my native language.

ceiling lamp with five separate bulbs

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    In the US "ceiling light fixture" seems pretty popular : savelights.com/…
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 23:12
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    Very specific to Scotland it would often be referred to as "the big light"
    – Darren H
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 12:52

6 Answers 6


As you noted, "chandelier" does normally refer to larger, more ornate pieces than this, despite its literal meaning of "candle holder".

In general, a light that is fixed is called a "light fitting" or "light fixture" (in contrast to desk lamps, or standing lamps that are pieces of furniture and can be moved). A light fitting could be a "ceiling light", a "wall light" a "floor light". This is a ceiling light.

John Lewis (a department store chain in the UK) describes this particular style as a "multi-armed ceiling light" https://www.johnlewis.com/browse/furniture-lights/ceiling-lighting/multi-armed/_/N-7cq4Z1z0hyhp This one, in particular, is a 5-arm ceiling light

Thus, there is no specific name for this type of light fitting, but they can be described using common words.

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    Perhaps you could emphasize light fitting as the the general term? Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 14:42
  • @WillCrawford done.
    – James K
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 14:52
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    "Light fixture" is more common where I live, but that may be a regional difference.
    – Adam V
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 14:57
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    @AdamV, was about to mention that. Fixture is certainly more common in the US. I assume Fitting must be more UK.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 14:58
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    @WillCrawford In terms of either one working, if I hadn’t read this answer and someone said “light fitting” to me, I would have no idea what they meant. I’ve never encountered that term before now. Also “light fixture” is used often where I live (mid-Atlantic US) but is a bit general and includes wall sconces and anything else built in. “Hanging lamp” or “ceiling lamp” are the more specific phrases I’ve heard for this. My guess is “light fitting” is more BrE and “light fixture” AmE. Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 16:24

A type of lamp which does not hang low from the ceiling is called a semi-flush ceiling light,

Semi-flush is a ceiling light that attaches to the ceiling with a stem or part that creates a gap between the ceiling and the light.

enter image description here

The adjective twisted describes the form of the glass shade


… there are two types of ceiling lights. The one is flush, and the other is semi flush. Flush ceiling lights are lights that are close to ceiling fixtures. In other words, they are close to ceiling lights. In fact, most of them have no gap between the fixture and the ceiling. These ceiling lights are designed to look modern and functional. They offer a consistent and exact level of brightness, whether it is warm or white.

On the other hand, semi-flush ceiling lights or semi-flush mount lights are those that have wider gaps between the fixture and the ceiling. If close to ceiling lights or those that are close to ceiling fixtures emulate the moon or the sun, semi flush lights emulate the classic chandelier. Nevertheless, both types can be made in various designs that can perfectly fit any interior.

enter image description here

The adjective swirl is used to describe how the arms cross each other

Note that the number of light bulbs is described 3/5/6 or 8 light, thus the ceiling lamp posted on the OP's question is a

(modern) 5 lamp semi-flush ceiling light.

  • I agree with flush mount, but not the swirl, for the OP's question. It is really a four-armed semi-flush mount.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 19:13
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    I didn't mean that the OP had to use swirl, I was explaining why "swirl" is used in the descriptions.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 19:14
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    Because I can't imagine walking into the pub, saying "I like the semi-flush (ceiling) lights in this room" and being understood in any way Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 21:35
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    Don't ask why I've done this, but here is OPs lamp on sale: Argos. Your description fits exactly the keywords in the title and the descriptor for this item - if OP wanted to buy one. Not good for casual conversation though.
    – user68033
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 10:36
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    @LightnessR - You raise an interesting point. When a learner asks, "What is the name for this object?" there are a couple different ways the question can be answered. One is, "What is the formal name for this object; that is, how would I search for it at an online retail website?" (which is how Mari-Lou has aptly approached the answer here). The other would be, "What would I call this, when I'm talking to my friends?" Unless the OP specifies one way or the other (not done in this case), an answer to either question deserves its spot in the conversation. (Btw, "ceiling light" works at the pub.)
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 17:15

The particular word chandelier basically means candle holder, but for most people evokes as you say a large, ornate fixture.

That may change, but in the meantime I stick with the more generic light fitting for any lamp holder, and I'd have said multiple light fitting, but it does appear the industry has settled on multi(-)arm(ed) to describe these things.

I wish we could resurrect manifold¹ [as the adjective] for this, it’s the perfect word — it means something has multiple parts, and often refers to something with a branching structure, such as an exhaust manifold².

¹ a pipe fitting with several lateral outlets for connecting one pipe with others; especially : a fitting on an internal combustion engine that directs a fuel and air mixture to or receives the exhaust gases from several cylinders

² the manifold that receives the exhaust gases from each of several engine cylinders

  • 1
    If you want to “resurrect” a particular word because you feel it's helpful, please feel free to just use it. If others also find it useful, its usage will grow again, it's as simple as that.
    – dessert
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 14:55
  • @dessert It works as long as noone comes along and denounces its use :o) I should really have made that a comment (on my own answer, perhaps) rather than including it as chit-chat, anyway. Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 14:56
  • Also, there is the problem that sending someone to a B&Q or whatever to buy a manifold light fixture isn't that far removed from dispatching them to obtain elbow grease or stripy paint if the outlet won't understand what they're talking about ;) Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 14:57
  • I think it's useful in the answer itself, you could however elaborate a bit on how this word would have been useful some time ago, but is considered archaic now – that's very useful for a learner (like me).
    – dessert
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 15:00
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    Manifold refers to the enclosed space more than any branching, and would not be appropriate for referring to this light.
    – fectin
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 1:39

In AmE, and no doubt elsewhere too, the terminology for lighting fixtures is quite varied and specific to the industry. Not every style has a widely used generic name, or fits neatly into a category.

Phrases that would come in handy for you trying to describe this image to a company over the phone, if you were shopping for such a light, say:

It's not a pendant style ceiling lamp; that is, it doesn't hang down from the ceiling on chains. Rather it has five rod-like but undulating polished metal arms each of which terminates in a frosted sconce.

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    tbh most retailer assistants would look blankly at you if you say undulating :o) Better to say adjustable or just bendy. Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 15:40
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    You need to speak to the proprietor. Or if you call a place that deals in nothing but lamps and lighting, most reps are knowledgeable.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 15:42
  • @WillCrawford: If that's the sort of light I'm thinking of, then the arms are neither adjustable nor bendy - their shape is fixed. Maybe "wavy" is more readily understood than "undulating"?
    – psmears
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 17:47
  • Oh, I see what you mean ... sorry :) Yes, "undulating" usually implies moving, so I thought they meant the ones you can twist around, ... sorry. I withdraw my objection ... Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 18:14
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    I know, that's why I said usually :) Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 18:33

While all the suggested terms are accurate and accepted, it is perfectly fine these days to call any multi-armed ceiling lamp a chandelier, no matter how fancy or plain. To say otherwise is wordy and overly specific. The main difference is between lay speakers and professionals. A designer or lamp manufacturer would refer to such a lamp generally as a fixture because all built-in lighting is referred to as a fixture. They would want to distinguish it from a more formal chandelier, which might have additional hanging pieces like strings of crystals that might may need space accommodation and expense. Watching the remodeling shows on cable TV, any multi-armed lighting fixture can be and is often referred to as a chandelier by professionals and lay people alike.

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    I might be inclined to upvote this if it included a link to a remodeling show where people are calling a lamp like the one in the question a "chandelier".
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 17:14

I think that the most generic way to refer to this type of ceiling light fixture would be a simple-style 5-light chandelier or a simple-fashion living-room chandelier. At least, that's what most online furniture stores call it (simple-style chandelier). Although it might not sound like it, it is still a chandelier, any way you slice it. Just a more modern version of it, I guess.

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    "simple-style" and "simple-fashion" sound very odd to these BrEng ears. It doesn't sound American - it sounds like a non-native speaker to me. (I'm happy to be corrected though.) Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 15:23

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