lime·​light | \ ˈlīm-ˌlīt How to pronounce limelight (audio) \

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

Examples of limelight in a Sentence

Noun an actress who discovered that the limelight was not such a glowing experience when her privacy was invaded
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Of course a man this busy is plotting his eventual exit from the limelight. New York Times, 6 May 2022 This isn't the first time Blake has spoken about taking a step back from the limelight. Katherine Tinsley, Good Housekeeping, 6 Mar. 2022 With Faraday Future having receded from the limelight for so long, a refresher is due. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 28 Feb. 2022 Friends and former associates say Reid was content with his retreat from the limelight -- surrounding himself with family -- but never surrendering a passion to be plugged in to politics. Devin Dwyer, ABC News, 29 Dec. 2021 But that’s not keeping Exotic from the limelight, if the show’s trailer is any indication. NBC News, 3 Nov. 2021 Three CEOs of leading Chinese tech companies have retreated from the limelight this year, as Beijing continues its crackdown on Internet companies. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 1 Nov. 2021 Some Black performers were barred from the limelight by accident, others were intentionally blotted out. Keyaira Boone, Essence, 27 Oct. 2021 The two aren't the only famous parents who try their best to protect their kids from the limelight. Iris Goldsztajn, Marie Claire, 22 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of limelight


1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1909, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of limelight was in 1826

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Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Limelight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for limelight


lime·​light | \ ˈlīm-ˌlīt How to pronounce limelight (audio) \

Kids Definition of limelight

: the center of public attention

More from Merriam-Webster on limelight

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


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