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adjective il·lus·tri·ous \i-ˈləs-trē-əs\

Simple Definition of illustrious

  • : admired and respected very much because a lot was achieved

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of illustrious

  1. 1 :  notably or brilliantly outstanding because of dignity or achievements or actions :  eminent

  2. 2 archaic a :  shining brightly with light b :  clearly evident

illustriously adverb
illustriousness noun

Examples of illustrious in a sentence

  1. He has had an illustrious military career.

  2. <an illustrious physicist who is a sure bet for a Nobel Prize>

Did You Know?

Illustrious people seem to light up everything around them. The etymology of illustrious makes it clear that a shining glow (both literal and figurative) has long been associated with the word. "Illustrious" ultimately derives from the Latin verb lustrare, which means "to purify" or "to make bright," and which is related to the noun that gave us "luster." At one time, "illustrious" was used in the literal sense of "shining brightly with light," but that meaning is now considered archaic. The word is now almost exclusively used in its figurative application to describe something that stands out brilliantly, much like a bright star stands out in the sky.

Origin of illustrious

Latin illustris, probably from illustrare

First Known Use: 1588

Synonym Discussion of illustrious

famous, renowned, celebrated, noted, notorious, distinguished, eminent, illustrious mean known far and wide. famous implies little more than the fact of being, sometimes briefly, widely and popularly known <a famous actress>. renowned implies more glory and acclamation <one of the most renowned figures in sports history>. celebrated implies notice and attention especially in print <the most celebrated beauty of her day>. noted suggests well-deserved public attention <the noted mystery writer>. notorious frequently adds to famous an implication of questionableness or evil <a notorious gangster>. distinguished implies acknowledged excellence or superiority <a distinguished scientist who won the Nobel Prize>. eminent implies even greater prominence for outstanding quality or character <the country's most eminent writers>. illustrious stresses enduring honor and glory attached to a deed or person <illustrious war heroes>.

Rhymes with illustrious

ILLUSTRIOUS Defined for Kids


adjective il·lus·tri·ous \i-ˈlə-strē-əs\

Definition of illustrious for Students

  1. :  admired and respected because of greatness or achievement

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up illustrious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to manage or play awkwardly

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