lack·​lus·​ter | \ ˈlak-ˌlə-stər How to pronounce lackluster (audio) \

Definition of lackluster

: lacking in sheen, brilliance, or vitality : dull, mediocre The actor gave a lackluster performance.

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Other Words from lackluster

lackluster noun

Did You Know?

In its earliest uses, "lackluster" (also spelled "lacklustre") usually described the eyes or face, as in "a lackluster stare." Later, it came to describe other things whose sheen had been removed; Charles Dickens, in his 1843 novel Martin Chuzzlewit, writes of the faded image of the dragon on the sign outside a village alehouse: "many a wintry storm of rain, snow, sleet, and hail, had changed his colour from a gaudy blue to a faint lack-lustre shade of grey." In addition to "a glow or sheen," "luster" can refer to a superficial attractiveness or appearance of excellence; it follows that "lackluster" is often used as a synonym for "unspectacular," as in our examples.

Examples of lackluster in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Former Vice President Joe Biden, coming off a lackluster fourth-place finish in Iowa and sliding in the latest polls in New Hampshire ahead of Tuesday’s primary, took aim on Saturday at rising 2020 rival Pete Buttigieg. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, "Biden zings Buttigieg: 'This guy's not a Barack Obama'," 9 Feb. 2020 The Congress, a distant third party, has run a lackluster campaign and is expected to fare poorly. Washington Post, "New Delhi votes with Modi’s popularity on the line," 8 Feb. 2020 But his lackluster showing in Iowa suggested wariness among Democratic voters who well recall the way Trump used Clinton’s baggage against her in 2016. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Watch live: Buttigieg and Sanders seek momentum at New Hampshire debate after scoring big in Iowa," 8 Feb. 2020 Former Bruin Phil Kessel, flipped from the Penguins to the Coyotes in the offseason, entered the afternoon with a lackluster line of 11-20—31 and also stood a Coyote-ugly minus-22 . . . Kevin Paul Dupont,, "Ageless Zdeno Chara is honored before Bruins’ victory," 8 Feb. 2020 His career 3-point shooting percentage was a lackluster 30.4%. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball's Zavier Simpson made Michigan State pay after tough week," 8 Feb. 2020 The former mayor and his campaign acknowledged that a lackluster result in Iowa would be detrimental for his White House hopes. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "Buttigieg got the result he needed in Iowa, but he has more to prove," 7 Feb. 2020 As the company faces pressure to clean up its finances following its lackluster Wall Street debut, the company has gone through several rounds of layoffs since its IPO, cutting more than 1,100 positions across various departments. Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, "After losing $8.5 billion last year, Uber CEO says 'era of growth at all costs is over'," 6 Feb. 2020 Now, in a race that features several candidates in position to win delegates, Biden's lackluster but passable performance in Iowa shows why there's little incentive for any of the candidates to drop out. NBC News, "Iowa meltdown, Trump bump are 2020 warning signs for Democrats," 5 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lackluster.' 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 lackluster

1600, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for lackluster

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The first known use of lackluster was in 1600

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Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lackluster.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for lackluster


How to pronounce lackluster (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lackluster

: lacking excitement or interest

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