lack·​lus·​ter ˈlak-ˌlə-stər How to pronounce lackluster (audio)
: lacking in sheen, brilliance, or vitality : dull, mediocre
The actor gave a lackluster performance.
lackluster noun

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Lackluster may describe things that are dull, but the word itself is no yawn. In its earliest uses in the early 17th century, lackluster (also spelled lacklustre) usually described eyes that were dull or lacking in brightness, as in “a lackluster stare.” Later, it came to describe other things whose sheen had been removed; Charles Dickens, in his 1844 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.” These days lackluster is broadly used to describe anything blah, from a spiritless sensation to a humdrum hump day.

Examples of lackluster in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Security promptly led her away to another horde of onlookers, and no charges ever came about, but the altercation capped the lackluster concert on an especially bitter note. Allaire Nuss,, 18 May 2024 Trump had refused to debate during the GOP primaries, and for Biden, a lackluster performance could be fatal for his reelection chances, given the concerns over his age and fitness. Douglas Schoen, Orange County Register, 17 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for lackluster 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lackluster.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1600, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lackluster was in 1600


Dictionary Entries Near lackluster

Cite this Entry

“Lackluster.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


lack·​lus·​ter ˈlak-ˌləs-tər How to pronounce lackluster (audio)
: lacking in brightness, radiance, or interest : dull
a lackluster performance
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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