luminary

noun

lu·​mi·​nary ˈlü-mə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce luminary (audio)
plural luminaries
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 adjective

Did you know?

As, dare we say, leading lights of the dictionary game, we're here to brighten your day with the 411 on luminary. This word has been casting its glow in English since the 15th century, and it traces back to the Latin word lumen, meaning "light." Other lumen descendants in English include illuminate ("to light up"), luminous ("emitting light"), phillumenist ("one who collects matchbooks or matchbox labels"), and bioluminescence ("the emission of light from living organisms").

Examples of luminary in a Sentence

luminaries of the art world awed by the vast number of luminaries in the night sky
Recent Examples on the Web While Da Vinci’s visit predates the 1573 villa, the Renaissance man was one of several luminaries who inspected the natural phenomenon. Jaclyn Degiorgio, Condé Nast Traveler, 10 July 2024 Expect a long list of Southern food luminaries in attendance. Sid Evans, Southern Living, 10 July 2024 That was notable Tuesday in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s choice of venue to deliver a speech: the Reagan Institute, to a room of Republican luminaries and European diplomats. John Hudson, Washington Post, 10 July 2024 Inspired by the work of lounge-music luminaries Martin Denny and Les Baxter, the tracks were recorded in an easy-listening style that evokes the kitschy era of 1960s bachelor pads but also presents Giacchino’s body of work in a new and unique way. Todd Gilchrist, Variety, 10 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for luminary 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'luminary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of luminary was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Luminary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/luminary. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

luminary

noun
lu·​mi·​nary ˈlü-mə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce luminary (audio)
plural luminaries
1
: a very famous person
2
: a source of light
especially : one of the heavenly bodies
luminary adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on luminary

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