luminary

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

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

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Other Words from luminary

luminary adjective

Synonyms for luminary

Synonyms

sphere, star, sun

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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.

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

Instead, 24 people—including Tasaki’s president Toshikazu Tajima, as well as a smattering of the city’s jewelry luminaries and a few editors who had just finished up a month-long slog of shows—sat at a chicly deconstructed version of a sushi bar. Mark Holgate, Vogue, "Prabal Gurung Wore a Pearl Earring to His Dinner Celebrating Tasaki’s New London Store," 8 Mar. 2019 In the days after the midterm election, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker worked the phones with Democratic luminaries in Iowa. Juana Summers, The Seattle Times, "Why wait? Democrats openly flirt with 2020 White House bids," 13 Nov. 2018 Jones, whose hilarious Vulture interview went viral earlier this year, is an icon: A 79-time Grammy Award nominee, Jones has brought home 27 of them and helped foster the careers of other luminaries from Oprah Winfrey to Will Smith. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "5 New Netflix Movies We’re Excited About This Fall," 10 Aug. 2018 Among the luminaries of Victorian science was John Tyndall, whose remarkable careers as a scientist, mountaineer and outspoken public advocate brought him to the pinnacle of British society and gained him world-wide renown. Peter Pesic, WSJ, "‘The Ascent of John Tyndall’ Review: Science at the Summit," 9 Aug. 2018 In the past few years, Liu’s become one of the most brightly-shining luminaries in the rapidly advancing field of gene editing. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "Inside a Chemist’s Quest to Hack Evolution and Cure Genetic Disease," 12 June 2018 Over time, the schools became a magnet for black players, including luminaries such as Bill Russell (University of San Francisco) and the championship Loyola-Chicago team of 1963, which broke an unspoken rule by starting four black players. Marc Tracy, New York Times, "Why Catholic Colleges Excel at Basketball," 30 Mar. 2018 The culinary luminaries will include Dominque Crenn of San Francisco, the first female chef in the United States to receive two Michelin stars. David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, "Five things to do or see at the Sonoma Film Festival that begins March 21," 14 Mar. 2018 The Hedy Lamarr Story opens with an archival photo of the glamorous Golden Age star at a nightclub table ringed with Hollywood luminaries. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "'Bombshell': The true story of the Hollywood legend who invented wifi," 7 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'luminary.' 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 luminary

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Dictionary Entries near luminary

luminaria

luminarism

luminarist

luminary

luminate

lumine

luminesce

Statistics for luminary

Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for luminary

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

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More Definitions for luminary

luminary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of luminary

: a very famous or successful person

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More from Merriam-Webster on luminary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with luminary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for luminary

Spanish Central: Translation of luminary

Nglish: Translation of luminary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of luminary for Arabic Speakers

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