Definition of luminary
1 : a person of prominence or brilliant achievement a literary luminary a luminary in the medical profession
2 : a body that gives light; especially : one of the celestial bodies skywatchers … will see one more bright luminary below Orion and Canis Major — Martin Ratcliffe
luminary was our Word of the Day on 10/11/2015. Hear the podcast!
Examples of luminary in a sentence
luminaries of the art world
awed by the vast number of luminaries in the night sky
Did You Know?
Allow us to shed some light on "luminary." It came to English by way of Anglo-French and Late Latin, and it traces back to the Latin word lumen, meaning "light." Other "lumen" descendants in English include "illuminate" (to light up), "luminous" (emitting light) and "phillumenist" (one who collects matchbooks or matchbox labels). "Luminary" has been shining its light in English since the 15th century.
Origin and Etymology of luminary
Middle English luminarye, from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French luminaire light, luminary, from Late Latin luminaria, plural of luminare lamp, heavenly body, from Latin, window, from lumin-, lumen light; akin to Latin lucēre to shine — more at light
First Known Use: 15th century
LUMINARY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of luminary for English Language Learners
: a very famous or successful person
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up luminary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).