: lacking in sheen, brilliance, or vitality : dull, mediocre
In spite of its owner's hard work, the little shop was forced to close due to lackluster sales.
"After a lackluster first half, the Cabrillo girls water polo team began to find the net and pulled away from Paso Robles, on the way to a 14-9 non-league win at the Cabrillo high pool." - From an article by Brad Memberto in the Santa Maria Times (California), December 13, 2012
Did You Know?
In its earliest uses, "lackluster" (also spelled "lacklustre") usually described the eyes or face, as in "a lackluster stare." Later, it came to describe other things whose sheen had been removed; Charles Dickens, in his 1843 novel Martin Chuzzlewit, writes of the faded image of the dragon on the sign outside a village alehouse: "many a wintry storm of rain, snow, sleet, and hail, had changed his colour from a gaudy blue to a faint lack-lustre shade of grey." In addition to "a glow or sheen," "luster" can refer to a superficial attractiveness or appearance of excellence; it follows that "lackluster" is often used as a synonym for "unspectacular," as in our examples.
Test Your Memory
What word completes this sentence from a former Word of the Day piece: "New teachers will be evaluated on __________¬¬¬ skills such as lesson planning and classroom management"? The answer is ...