bril·​liance | \ ˈbril-yən(t)s \

Definition of brilliance

: the quality or state of being brilliant

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Examples of brilliance in a Sentence

The professor was known for his brilliance. the brilliance of a diamond

Recent Examples on the Web

Vine's brilliance—short looping videos that lend themselves to playful tomfoolery and significantly less so to fake news, harassment, or the dreaded 'discourse'—was in its simplicity. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The Only Good Part of the Internet Is Coming Back," 8 Nov. 2018 And now, he's admitted to turning to the ways of Ronaldo for inspiration; pointing out that the brilliance of the 33-year-old is massive motivation., "'There Is No Better Motivation': Marcus Rashford Reveals Who Has Inspired Him This Summer," 23 June 2018 The artistic brilliance of the performances was an obvious attraction, but there was something else going on as well—the kind of excitement that comes from discovery. Mick Moloney, Smithsonian, "How One Impromptu Jam Session Spawned a Sweeping Irish American Music Revival," 16 Mar. 2018 And that's the brilliance of Everything Is Terrible! Kevin Warwick, Chicago Reader, "Everything Is Terrible! plumb the depths of hell in The Great Satan," 19 Feb. 2018 This all may have been an elaborate joke, but watching Hamm and Fallon try to ignore a mobile reptile while remaining in overly-dramatic character is a thing of brilliance. Sarah Lindig, Marie Claire, "Jon Hamm and Jimmy Fallon Get Dramatic in 'Turtle Soap Opera' Sketch on 'The Tonight Show'," 15 Oct. 2016 Messi wears his brilliance more lightly; these things just come to him. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Amid Argentina’s Drama, Lionel Messi’s Brilliance Emerges," 26 June 2018 Her brilliance was on par or even surpassed by her physical beauty. Hartford Courant,, "Lucille M. Frieder," 10 June 2018 And more often, Trump speaks of Wharton with no details at all — almost as an empty token of his brilliance and success. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "It’s the 50th anniversary of the day Trump left college and (briefly) faced the draft," 20 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brilliance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of brilliance

1748, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

19 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for brilliance

The first known use of brilliance was in 1748

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More Definitions for brilliance



English Language Learners Definition of brilliance

: the quality or state of being brilliant


bril·​liance | \ ˈbril-yəns \

Kids Definition of brilliance

: great brightness

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Comments on brilliance

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very full or close together

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