leading light


Definition of leading light

: a prominent and influential member (as of a community or church)

Examples of leading light in a Sentence

He is one of the leading lights of the labor movement.
Recent Examples on the Web He is considered one of the most prestigious Shiite religious scholars in the world, the leading light at the Najaf seminaries, earning him worldwide reverence. Star Tribune, "Intense preparations before pontiff meets Iraqi ayatollah," 3 Mar. 2021 Slavery was endorsed by God, declared the leading light of the Presbyterian Church of the Confederacy, Joseph Ruggles Wilson, in 1861. Colin Woodard, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Pitfalls and Promise of America’s Founding Myths," 23 Feb. 2021 That leaves Taiwanese chip companies — including the industry’s leading light, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which owns the Tainan plant — in a tough spot. Raymond Zhong, New York Times, "In U.S.-China Tech Feud, Taiwan Feels Heat From Both Sides," 1 Oct. 2020 Many think that a watershed was reached in July when the governing board of Hong Kong University sacked Benny Tai, a law professor and leading light of the Occupy movement. The Economist, "Profs and loss China is killing academic freedom in Hong Kong," 23 Aug. 2020 Olympus, once a leading light in the photography industry, is now joining that list. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Photo finish: Crashing sales force Olympus to sell iconic camera business," 24 June 2020 But why didn’t these leading lights raise the alarm about Weinstein sooner? Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Harvey Weinstein: Hollywood’s Shield?," 3 Mar. 2020 Soccer star Alex Morgan, a leading light of the Women's World Cup this summer, is expecting her first child. Patrick Smith, NBC News, "Top Pentagon Ukraine official's impeachment evidence delayed by GOP protest: Read the Morning Rundown," 24 Oct. 2019 In memoriam: Katherine Johnson, the leading light of a cadre of black female mathematicians in the early space program who performed NASA’s most delicate calculations, including for the moon landing, died at 101 in Virginia. Penn Bullock, New York Times, "Coronavirus, Harvey Weinstein, Brexit: Your Tuesday Briefing," 25 Feb. 2020

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

1655, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of leading light was in 1655

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Cite this Entry

“Leading light.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leading%20light. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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leading light


English Language Learners Definition of leading light

: a person who is a very important member of a group, organization, or community

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