brilliant

adjective
bril·​liant | \ ˈbril-yənt \

Definition of brilliant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : very bright : glittering a brilliant light
2a : striking, distinctive a brilliant example
b : distinguished by unusual mental keenness or alertness brilliant scientists
3 British : very good : excellent

brilliant

noun

Definition of brilliant (Entry 2 of 2)

: a gem (such as a diamond) cut in a particular form with numerous facets so as to have special brightness or brilliance

Illustration of brilliant

Illustration of brilliant

Noun

brilliant, top and side view: 1 table, 2 bezel, 3 girdle, 4 pavilion, 5 culet

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from brilliant

Adjective

brilliantly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for brilliant

Adjective

bright, brilliant, radiant, luminous, lustrous mean shining or glowing with light. bright implies emitting or reflecting a high degree of light. brilliant implies intense often sparkling brightness. radiant stresses the emission or seeming emission of rays of light. luminous implies emission of steady, suffused, glowing light by reflection or in surrounding darkness. lustrous stresses an even, rich light from a surface that reflects brightly without glittering.

Examples of brilliant in a Sentence

Adjective

a brilliant star in the sky a store decorated in brilliant colors He pitched a brilliant game. She gave a brilliant performance. She has a brilliant mind.

Noun

the diamond cutter set out an array of brilliants to show the various ways the diamond could be cut
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

What’s more, Jaimes is a brilliant character writer. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Nancy, a 1930s comic strip, was the funniest thing I read in 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 Matt’s tall, handsome, brilliant, funny and deeply kind. Jill Gleeson, Good Housekeeping, "Menopause Doesn't Make Me Invisible," 5 Oct. 2018 But every now and then, celebs personally clap back in the most brilliant ways (looking at you, Julia Roberts). Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "Sofia Vergara Responds to Instagram Troll Who Said Her Face Looks "Different Now"," 19 Sep. 2018 In a tweet posted Wednesday, Kim admitted to lying to North West about her Yeezy shoes being glow-in-the-dark, giving Kanye West a brilliant (no pun intended) idea. Eileen Reslen, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian Told North West a Lie—and It Inspired Kanye West's New Yeezys," 29 Aug. 2018 Often, students like Ender or Vampi tell me, the most brilliant ED011 students even outsmarted their professors and taught them some advanced Unix or Linux techniques. Andrada Fiscutean, Ars Technica, "The adventures of lab ED011—“Nobody would be able to duplicate what happened there”," 27 Aug. 2018 Early on in my career as a writer, a couple magazine editors told me stories about brilliant writers who were impossible to work with. Brendan Leonard, Outside Online, "Advice for Leading a Successful Outdoor Life," 12 June 2018 Eight of the smartest, sneakiest, and most brilliant women to walk the halls of the Metropolitan Museum Of Art. refinery29.com, "A Handy Guide To The Ocean’s 8 Characters & Who Plays Who," 30 May 2018 Wolfe, who died Tuesday at age 88, was a lion of 20th century journalism, a hard-working, creative, brilliant writer, and a colorful character in his own right. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Data Sheet—Remembering When Tom Wolfe Nailed Silicon Valley," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brilliant.' 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 brilliant

Adjective

circa 1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1690, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for brilliant

Adjective

French brillant, present participle of briller to shine, from Italian brillare

Noun

borrowed from French brillant, noun derivative of brillant brilliant entry 1

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Statistics for brilliant

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brilliant

The first known use of brilliant was circa 1681

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More Definitions for brilliant

brilliant

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of brilliant

: very bright : flashing with light

: very impressive or successful

: extremely intelligent : much more intelligent than most people

brilliant

adjective
bril·​liant | \ ˈbril-yənt \

Kids Definition of brilliant

1 : flashing with light : very bright brilliant jewels
2 : very impressive a brilliant career
3 : very smart or clever a brilliant student

Other Words from brilliant

brilliantly adverb

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Comments on brilliant

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

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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