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

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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

And her roommates’ prank game is even more brilliant due to the fact that Hannah doesn’t like Christmas. Kim Quindlen, Teen Vogue, "College Students Play Wrapping Paper Prank on Roommate," 4 Dec. 2018 Most of the buildings are white, but blue domes, red shutters, and pink walls provide pops of color that contrast with the brilliant teal green sea below. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 25 most colorful cities in the world," 19 Feb. 2019 But for a player who’s had trouble finishing off matches, Anderson was brilliant. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Four Thoughts From Four Quarterfinals: Rafa-Djokovic to Meet, Federer Upset," 11 July 2018 His brilliant play still shared the stage with weather that was bizarre even by Pebble standards. Doug Ferguson, The Seattle Times, "Mickelson beats everyone but the dark at Pebble," 11 Feb. 2019 The saturated colors of the Native American costumes and the spectacular sets of the Indian Village and of the plantation River Run are brilliant eye candy. Marie Claire, "'Outlander' Season 4 Finale Recap: 5 Biggest Takeaways," 28 Jan. 2019 Stephen Hawking was a brilliant physicist, but a lot of his theories were strange and difficult to prove. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Just Experimentally Proved One of Hawking's Wildest Theories," 23 Jan. 2019 To celebrate its unveiling, the brilliant bartenders at Harry's have created a cocktail in the building's—as well as the original Harry's—honor called The Old Mr. Johnson. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "Designer Cocktail: Old Mr. Johnson," 23 Jan. 2019 True, the season lacked an instant-classic moment like Michael's brilliant-but-bloody simulation of the Trolley Problem, which will always be my favorite. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "TV Technica 2018: Our favorite shows and binges," 24 Dec. 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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Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

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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 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

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