brilliant

adjective
bril·​liant | \ ˈbril-yənt How to pronounce brilliant (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The British Empire was still a thing when this brilliant naval commander became consort to the most powerful monarch in the world. Juliet Rieden, Town & Country, "At 98, Prince Philip Is the Last of the Old-School Royals," 10 June 2019 David Pastrnak, who entered the game a team-worst minus-5 in the series, extinguished any hopes of a St. Louis comeback with a brilliant finish for Boston’s fourth goal at 14:06 of the third. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "The Bruins’ first line was first-rate, and they need more of that in Game 7," 10 June 2019 Make use of this brilliant opportunity to build new friendships and bonds, as well as strengthen relationships. Venus Australis, refinery29.com, "Your Horoscope This Week," 9 June 2019 There weren’t a lot of chances (Fatjon Çollari made one brilliant save in the Chameria goal), and there weren’t...any goals. SI.com, "​South Ossetia: How CONIFA European Football Cup Finalists Went From Violence to Victory," 8 June 2019 The film is about a brilliant high school student who suddenly comes under suspicion for various misdeeds. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "New trailers: Jessica Jones, Ad Astra, The Lion King, and more," 8 June 2019 Molly is a brilliant paleobotanist, an exhausted mother of an infant and toddler. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "9 mysteries and thrillers to give you an adrenaline rush this summer," 7 June 2019 Each September, the Medora Hot Air Balloon Rally paints Medora's skies with dozens of bright balloons, transforming North Dakota's badlands into a brilliant burst of color. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian, "The 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2019," 6 June 2019 Martha MacCallum helps us remember the triumphs, tragedy and brilliant strategic planning that our brave soldiers endured. Fox News, "D-Day deception: How phantom armies and fake information helped win the Battle of Normandy," 6 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about brilliant

Statistics for brilliant

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brilliant

The first known use of brilliant was circa 1681

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce brilliant (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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