limn

verb \ ˈlim \

Definition of limn

limned; limning play \ˈli-miŋ, ˈlim-niŋ\
transitive verb
1 :to draw or paint on a surface
  • The artist limned a portrait.
2 :to outline in clear sharp detail :delineate
  • he was limned by a streetlight
  • —Stephen Coonts
3 :describe
  • the novel limns the frontier life of the settlers

limner

play \ˈli-mər, ˈlim-nər\ noun

limn was our Word of the Day on 01/15/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of limn in a Sentence

  1. he limned the scene in the courtroom so perfectly I could practically see it

Recent Examples of limn from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'limn.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Allow us to shed some light on the history of "limn," a word with lustrous origins. "Limn" traces to the Middle French verb enluminer and ultimately to the Latin illuminare, which means "to illuminate." Its use as an English verb dates from the days of Middle English; at first, "limn" referred to the action of illuminating (that is, decorating) medieval manuscripts with gold, silver, or brilliant colors. William Shakespeare extended the term to painting in his poem Venus and Adonis: "Look when a painter would surpass the life / In limning out a well-proportioned steed . . . ."

Origin and Etymology of limn

Middle English limnen to illuminate (a manuscript), probably back-formation from lymnour illuminator, alteration of lumenur, from Anglo-French aluminer, enluminer to illuminate, ultimately from Latin illuminare

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