bright·​ness ˈbrīt-nəs How to pronounce brightness (audio)
: the quality or state of being bright
also : an instance of such a quality or state
: the attribute of light-source colors by which emitted light is ordered continuously from light to dark in correlation with its intensity compare hue sense 2c, lightness entry 1 sense 2a, saturation sense 4

Example Sentences

the brightness of the sunshine made me squint after an afternoon spent in a darkened movie theater
Recent Examples on the Web Sour cream provides just the right amount of creaminess while fresh lemon juice adds a welcome touch of brightness. Tina Martinez, Good Housekeeping, 16 May 2023 Pickled onions, capers and olives offer brightness and levity. Bahar Anooshahr, The Arizona Republic, 8 May 2023 The team is now experimenting with using a thermal camera where the brightness of the image is a function of the skin temperature rather than skin color. Byshefali Malhotra,, 2 May 2023 The Quattro's gauges are lighted in red in order not to interfere with eyes adjusted to headlight brightness (which is good on high beam, not so hot on low), though this can be an annoyance to drivers with a low sensitivity to red. Larry Griffin, Car and Driver, 18 Apr. 2023 Its battery lasts up to two weeks off a charge, and has a sharp, bright OLED screen that can output up to 1000-nit brightness. Andrew Williams, Forbes, 23 Mar. 2023 Roasted Salmon With Chermoula and Kale Salad Lemon zest adds brightness to simple roasted salmon in this easy dish served with a lemony kale salad. Ben Mimscooking Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 5 Mar. 2023 Meanwhile, the volume of each note is proportional to the brightness of the particular section of the image. Dan Falk, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Mar. 2023 Together the familiar combo of bacon and ranch are elevated by the saltiness of the Parmesan and the brightness of the fresh dill. Micah A Leal, Southern Living, 22 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'brightness.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of brightness was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near brightness

Cite this Entry

“Brightness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


bright·​ness ˈbrīt-nəs How to pronounce brightness (audio)
: the one of the three psychological dimensions of color perception by which visual stimuli are ordered continuously from light to dark and which is correlated with light intensity compare hue, saturation sense 4a

More from Merriam-Webster on brightness

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!