lime·​light | \ˈlīm-ˌlīt \

Definition of limelight 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a stage lighting instrument producing illumination by means of an oxyhydrogen flame directed on a cylinder of lime and usually equipped with a lens to concentrate the light in a beam

b : the white light produced by such an instrument

c British : spotlight

2 : the center of public attention


limelighted; limelighting; limelights

Definition of limelight (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to center attention on : spotlight

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Examples of limelight in a Sentence


an actress who discovered that the limelight was not such a glowing experience when her privacy was invaded

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady are one of the most glamorous couples in the limelight, but their wedding day was a lot more modest than most would expect. Eileen Reslen, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gisele Bündchen Shares Rare, Intimate Details About Her Wedding to Tom Brady," 2 Oct. 2018 As the couple continues to be in the limelight, here's a look back at highlights from their whirlwind romance. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Katharine McPhee and David Foster's whirlwind May-December romance: A relationship timeline," 1 Sep. 2018 While fashion’s highest levels took steps to keep children out of the limelight, social media offered them an entirely new platform. Ray A. Smith, WSJ, "Meet the 9-Year-Old Telling You What to Wear," 6 Oct. 2018 Palmer, who got his start in the restaurant industry, typically stays out of the limelight, even in marquee education deals. Collin Binkley, The Seattle Times, "Little scrutiny in DeVry sale, as DeVos targets protections," 1 Oct. 2018 The other, a professor and research scientist who has spent most of her life out of the limelight. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "#MeToo Advocate Alyssa Milano: Christine Blasey Ford Has 'Zero Reason to Lie' About Brett Kavanaugh," 21 Sep. 2018 Atlanta may not be the first place that comes to mind for a really stellar cup of coffee since cities like Portland, Sydney, Seattle, Melbourne, Chicago and New York soak up a well-deserved share of the limelight. Jennifer Bradley Franklin, Condé Nast Traveler, "10 Best Coffee Shops in Atlanta," 22 Aug. 2018 Just two weeks ago, it was reported that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were enjoying some time out of the limelight at a cottage in the Cotswolds. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Where in the World Are Harry and Meghan?," 20 Aug. 2018 Is there a benefit to maybe not being in the limelight in that same way? Eric Johnson, Recode, "Product Hunt CEO Ryan Hoover says redesigning your app is probably a mistake," 2 Aug. 2018

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


1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1909, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for limelight

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for limelight

The first known use of limelight was in 1826

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More Definitions for limelight


lime·​light | \ˈlīm-ˌlīt \

Kids Definition of limelight

: the center of public attention

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More from Merriam-Webster on limelight

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with limelight

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for limelight

Spanish Central: Translation of limelight

Nglish: Translation of limelight for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about limelight

Comments on limelight

What made you want to look up limelight? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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