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

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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

With most of the limelight so far being shone on a free-scoring US side, Germany has gone about its business with quiet efficiency in France. George Ramsay, CNN, "Women's World Cup: Quarterfinals set to be 'wild and crazy'," 26 June 2019 Still, would Olivia Jade really go there when she's done so much to stay out of the limelight in the wake of the image-shattering scandal? Kaitlin Reilly,, "Are Olivia Jade & Her Boyfriend Just Pretending To Date?," 25 June 2019 While Hicks largely stayed out of the limelight during her White House stint, administration insiders have long said that Hicks had Trump's ear in a way that many others never could., "White House bars former Trump aide from answering questions about her work," 19 June 2019 Hot shot plugs were in the limelight for several years, and then came the Kwik Fish. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Tackling the fishing tackle is a project you can really get hooked on," 19 June 2019 Since little Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor arrived on May 6, Meghan Markle has (very understandably) stayed out of the limelight. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle May Soon Make Her Second Public Appearance Since Baby Archie's Birth," 29 May 2019 Unlike their younger brother, the Spencer sisters have stayed out of the limelight since the car accident that took Diana's life. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Everything We Know About Lady Jane Fellowes, Princess Diana's Sister," 6 May 2019 Most go to people who are not in the limelight, but there is also a sprinkling of famous faces. NBC News, "Olivia Colman gets royal honor ahead of debut in 'The Crown'," 8 June 2019 Greg, not Megan, was in the limelight, and so the story became how a man exploited a 19-year-old for the sake of ticket sales and attention. Dvorameyers, Longreads, "The Gymnast’s Position," 5 June 2019

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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More Definitions for limelight


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

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 form ideas or theories about something

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