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lime·​light ˈlīm-ˌlīt How to pronounce limelight (audio)
: 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
: the white light produced by such an instrument
British : spotlight
: the center of public attention


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limelighted; limelighting; limelights

transitive verb

: to center attention on : spotlight

Example Sentences

Noun an actress who discovered that the limelight was not such a glowing experience when her privacy was invaded
Recent Examples on the Web
Welcome to America’s childcare crisis Finding affordable childcare in the U.S. has long been like searching for a needle in a haystack, but the pandemic has thrown the struggle into an even larger limelight. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 11 May 2023 The newest and greatest in our ever-growing number of omakase restaurants tend to be run by seasoned talents with years of experience working for others; these small bars are their chance to shine in their own limelight. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2023 The boys have grown up in the spotlight and their own wives and families have gotten the same harsh limelight. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 28 Apr. 2023 Referring to Michél’s once-lucrative recording career, Lockhart suggested that his time in the hip-hop limelight was long over. Paul Duggan, Anchorage Daily News, 31 Mar. 2023 All of the sudden, the public high school was making waves in the state limelight because of one player. Joe Arruda, Hartford Courant, 28 Jan. 2023 This should be the year the state strides confidently into the Super Bowl snack limelight. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 10 Feb. 2023 After turning pro in 2013, Naomi Osaka gained limelight during her 2015 match against her idol and fellow tennis star Serena Williams during the U.S open, where 20-year-old Osaka won her first major title. Cameron Jenkins, Good Housekeeping, 2 Feb. 2023 While McQueen might’ve been able to use his blufftop Malibu property to hide from the Hollywood limelight, the previously sleepy surf town has changed significantly since his occupancy. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 19 Dec. 2022 See More

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


1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1909, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of limelight was in 1826

Dictionary Entries Near limelight

Cite this Entry

“Limelight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the center of public attention

More from Merriam-Webster on limelight

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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