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

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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 His last season before retirement was lackluster in comparison to his heyday, but maybe he'll be refreshed after two full seasons away from the game. Amie Just | Staff Writer,, "The Edge: Assessing how New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Bucs stack up in season opener," 10 Sep. 2020 By just about any quantifiable metric, this was a firecracker vs. an atom bomb—and yet Dort was so nearly the hero, while Harden added yet another lackluster playoff performance to a pile that may one day eclipse all those accolades. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Trail Blazers’ biggest offseason question, Nets hire Steven Nash, Chris Paul alters Thunder road map, draft buzz: NBA playoffs news and notes," 3 Sep. 2020 Other Botafogo staples include Quartinho, a bar reminiscent of a friend’s eclectic living room, where impeccably curated Brazilian tunes are always playing and not one of the inventive cocktails is lackluster. Karen I. Chen, Travel + Leisure, "Rio’s Botafogo Neighborhood Is a Hotspot for Local Creatives With Killer Restaurants, Bars, and Shops," 20 Aug. 2020 After a lackluster yellow-flag finish in the Indianapolis 500, IndyCar fans were treated to a spectacular, down-to-the-wire duel between Takuma Sato and Scott Dixon. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Scott Dixon wins his 50th IndyCar race in down-to-the-wire duel with Takuma Sato at Gateway," 30 Aug. 2020 Thankfully, Samsung does not waste the comfort of these earbuds with lackluster battery life. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "The best true wireless earbuds of 2020," 28 Aug. 2020 After a lackluster offensive performance on the road against Houston last week, FCD is looking to take advantage of back-to-back home matches this week to find its offense before back-to-back road games next week. Angel Franco, Dallas News, "Keeping the faith: Michael Barrios believes FC Dallas’ scoring drought will end against Colorado," 26 Aug. 2020 On Friday, the purchasing managers index published by IHS Markit signaled that recovery in the eurozone stalled in August, echoing lackluster labor-market data released by the U.S. Thursday. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Under the Surface of Pristine Job Numbers, Pain Awaits Europe Too," 21 Aug. 2020 Downgrading for 280,000 students including, for example, outliers who were excellent performers at otherwise poorly-performing schools—and a boost in results for lackluster pupils at schools that have historically performed well. David Meyer, Fortune, "What the U.K.’s pandemic exam-results fiasco tells us about algorithms and the future," 17 Aug. 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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The first known use of lackluster was in 1600

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Last Updated

14 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lackluster.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 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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