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 Leave a comment View Comments French Foreign Trade and Language minister Franck Riester said Conde was a leading light of French literature and theatre. Reuters, CNN, 3 Apr. 2024 Best known for his novels in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the son of Kingsley Amis was a leading light in London’s literary scene. Jim Ruland, Los Angeles Times, 10 Mar. 2024 The five new projects rep, however, Movistar Plus+’s first movie slate and marks, or continues, its association with leading lights on Spain’s vibrant crossover movie scene. John Hopewell, Variety, 18 Jan. 2024 Many of bossa nova’s leading lights were either just writers or just performers; Mr. Lyra was among the few who were both. Clay Risen, New York Times, 23 Dec. 2023 In practice, its leading lights have effectively been working for the president. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, 14 Dec. 2023 Our concern is with how the evident interest of Delaware’s leading lights in environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles is likely to affect that gold standard. WSJ, 4 Dec. 2023 At the same time, Francis has consistently remained one of the leading lights of daytime, including stints on Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless and returns to General Hospital, as well as numerous primetime guest appearances. Scott Huver, Peoplemag, 24 Nov. 2023 On Saturday night leading lights from the art, film, fashion and entertainment industries gathered once again under the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s iconic Urban Light installation to kick off the annual Art+Film Gala presented by Gucci. Rachel Marlowe, Vogue, 5 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'leading light.' 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

1707, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of leading light was in 1707

Dictionary Entries Near leading light

Cite this Entry

“Leading light.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leading%20light. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

leading light

: a prominent and influential member (as of a field of study or political movement)
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