Definition of illustrious
1 : notably or brilliantly outstanding because of dignity or achievements or actions : eminent
2 archaic a : shining brightly with lightb : clearly evident
illustrious was our Word of the Day on 10/08/2012. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of illustrious in a Sentence
He has had an illustrious military career.
an illustrious physicist who is a sure bet for a Nobel Prize
Did You Know?
Illustrious people seem to light up everything around them. The etymology of illustrious makes it clear that a shining glow (both literal and figurative) has long been associated with the word. "Illustrious" ultimately derives from the Latin verb lustrare, which means "to purify" or "to make bright," and which is related to the noun that gave us "luster." At one time, "illustrious" was used in the literal sense of "shining brightly with light," but that meaning is now considered archaic. The word is now almost exclusively used in its figurative application to describe something that stands out brilliantly, much like a bright star stands out in the sky.
Origin and Etymology of illustrious
Latin illustris, probably from illustrare
First Known Use: 1588See Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of illustrious
ILLUSTRIOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of illustrious for English Language Learners
: admired and respected very much because a lot was achieved
ILLUSTRIOUS Defined for Kids
Definition of illustrious for Students
: admired and respected because of greatness or achievement
Seen and Heard
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