1 of 2


bril·​liant ˈbril-yənt How to pronounce brilliant (audio)
: very bright : glittering
a brilliant light
: striking, distinctive
a brilliant example
: distinguished by unusual mental keenness or alertness
brilliant scientists
British : very good : excellent
brilliantly adverb


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
  • 1 table
  • 2 bezel
  • 3 girdle
  • 4 pavilion
  • 5 culet
Choose the Right Synonym for brilliant

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Jonathan is not just brilliant and beautiful but also one of the kindest men. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 29 May 2024 With Game 3 and potentially the series hanging in the balance, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving delivered brilliant fourth quarter performances to lead the Mavericks to a 116-107 win over Minnesota on Sunday to move Dallas ahead 3-0 in the Western Conference Finals. Steven Johnson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 27 May 2024 Caba was brilliant in Miami’s first two games in Charlotte, getting 10 outs for a save on Tuesday and six outs for a save on Thursday. Walter Villa, Miami Herald, 26 May 2024 Mets catcher Omar Narváez lined a soft single into center field off Tyler Rogers to walk off the Giants, 4-3, capping a three-run rally that flipped the score from a 3-1 San Francisco advantage and wasted a brilliant effort from Logan Webb. Evan Webeck, The Mercury News, 26 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for brilliant 

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

Word History



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


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

First Known Use


circa 1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1690, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of brilliant was circa 1681

Dictionary Entries Near brilliant

Cite this Entry

“Brilliant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
bril·​liant ˈbril-yənt How to pronounce brilliant (audio)
: flashing with light : very bright
brilliant jewels
: very impressive
a brilliant career
: very smart or clever
a brilliant student
a brilliant idea
brilliantly adverb


2 of 2 noun
: a gem (as a diamond) cut so as to sparkle

More from Merriam-Webster on brilliant

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!