illustrious

adjective il·lus·tri·ous \ i-ˈlə-strē-əs \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of illustrious

1 : notably or brilliantly outstanding because of dignity or achievements or actions : eminent
2 archaic
a : shining brightly with light
b : clearly evident

illustriously

adverb

illustriousness

noun

Examples of illustrious in a Sentence

  1. He has had an illustrious military career.

  2. an illustrious physicist who is a sure bet for a Nobel Prize

Recent Examples of illustrious from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'illustrious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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

Synonym Discussion of illustrious

famous, renowned, celebrated, noted, notorious, distinguished, eminent, illustrious mean known far and wide. famous implies little more than the fact of being, sometimes briefly, widely and popularly known.
    • a famous actress
renowned implies more glory and acclamation.
    • one of the most renowned figures in sports history
celebrated implies notice and attention especially in print.
    • the most celebrated beauty of her day
noted suggests well-deserved public attention.
    • the noted mystery writer
notorious frequently adds to famous an implication of questionableness or evil.
    • a notorious gangster
distinguished implies acknowledged excellence or superiority.
    • a distinguished scientist who won the Nobel Prize
eminent implies even greater prominence for outstanding quality or character.
    • the country's most eminent writers
illustrious stresses enduring honor and glory attached to a deed or person.
    • illustrious war heroes

ILLUSTRIOUS Defined for English Language Learners

illustrious

adjective

Definition of illustrious for English Language Learners

  • : admired and respected very much because a lot was achieved


ILLUSTRIOUS Defined for Kids

illustrious

adjective il·lus·tri·ous \ i-ˈlə-strē-əs \

Definition of illustrious for Students

: admired and respected because of greatness or achievement


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