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

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 Donahue, who died at 93 from Parkinson’s disease, was always the one more comfortable in the limelight. Amy Kaufmanstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Love is love: How do you go on without your ‘little darling’?," 8 May 2020 Meanwhile Mr Saakashvili is back in the limelight, vying for a key job as a deputy prime minister in charge of reforms and negotiations with the IMF. The Economist, "A conviction politician A former president of Georgia tries to shake up Ukraine," 30 Apr. 2020 Other candidates, particularly a handful of strong Latina contenders, will undoubtedly get their moment in the limelight. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Who Will Be Joe Biden’s Pick for Vice President?," 27 Apr. 2020 Throughout the impeachment hearings, historians and political scientists have been hogging the limelight with their sage commentary, but really this is a crisis designed for literary critics. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "In the impeachment spin wars, only the English majors can save us," 12 Dec. 2019 This is Taylor’s second marijuana conviction in Cook County since the Englewood native shot into the limelight with the popularity of drill rap, and stars, Chief Keef and Lil Durk exploding in the early 2010s. William Lee,, "Chicago rapper Lil Reese pleads guilty in pot possession case," 6 June 2019 There’s something about social distancing’s complete lack of context and the evaporation of FOMO that makes people lose their inhibitions and step into the limelight. Flora Tsapovsky, Wired, "Could the Coronavirus Kill Influencer Culture?," 14 Apr. 2020 The Hayden Expedition of the early 1870s that brought Yellowstone into the limelight also illuminated the Grand Tetons through innovative photography and landscape paintings. Joe Yogerst, National Geographic, "Everything to know about Grand Teton National Park," 29 July 2019 The event represented an extremely rare public appearance for Blasey Ford and Miller, whom have largely steered away from the limelight. Lauren Hernández,, "In rare appearances, prominent survivors of assault, violence gather in a call for action," 12 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for limelight

Time Traveler

The first known use of limelight was in 1826

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Statistics for limelight

Last Updated

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Limelight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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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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