luminous

adjective

lu·​mi·​nous ˈlü-mə-nəs How to pronounce luminous (audio)
1
a
: emitting or reflecting usually steady, suffused, or glowing light
luminous objects—the nebula, the stars, the planetsLincoln La Paz
b
: of or relating to light or to luminous flux
2
: bathed in or exposed to steady light
luminous with sunlight
3
: clear, enlightening
a luminous explanation
4
: shining, illustrious
a luminous film star
a luminous performance
luminously adverb
luminousness noun

Did you know?

Luminous, like its synonyms radiant, shining, glowing, and lustrous, is generally a positive adjective, especially when it describes something that doesn't literally glow, such as a face, a performance, or a poem. Luminous signs depend on a gas such as neon, krypton, argon, xenon, or radon—and you can use luminous (DayGlo) paint to make your own signs. New technologies have now given us luminous fabrics, which are being used to produce striking or creepy effects in clothing, upholstery, and interior surfaces.

Choose the Right Synonym for luminous

bright, brilliant, radiant, luminous, lustrous mean shining or glowing with light.

bright implies emitting or reflecting a high degree of light.

brilliant implies intense often sparkling brightness.

radiant stresses the emission or seeming emission of rays of light.

luminous implies emission of steady, suffused, glowing light by reflection or in surrounding darkness.

lustrous stresses an even, rich light from a surface that reflects brightly without glittering.

Examples of luminous in a Sentence

I saw the cat's luminous eyes in my car's headlights. a watch with a luminous dial The room was luminous with sunlight.
Recent Examples on the Web Their renovation has been thoughtful, above all preserving the luminous, emerald green tiles on many of the exterior walls. Ann Abel, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 The make-up The woman behind Aniston’s luminous makeup is Angela Levin, whose signature is natural glam. Hannah Coates, Vogue, 11 Feb. 2024 What’s astonishing in this current age of sequels and spin-offs is that Bogart, playing the most famous of all casino owners, never re-teamed in the movies with his co-star here, the luminous Ingrid Bergman. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2024 The blue is grayish yet luminous in Saylor’s delicate illustration of moonglow lichen scattered across a field of textured brown. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2024 Our Milky Way galaxy's most common type of star is called a red dwarf - much smaller and less luminous than our sun. Fox News, 1 Dec. 2023 While the look was uniform in that the focus was cashmere-smooth, luminous skin throughout, the beauty brief was very much to highlight each model’s individual beauty at the same time. Georgia Day, Vogue, 24 Jan. 2024 Scarcely 45 minutes later, resident astronomer Elinor Gates has already used light-wavelength data to identify a quasar — the galaxy core where gases and space dust go out in a blaze of luminous glory just before they’re sucked inside a black hole. Ethan Baron, The Mercury News, 22 Jan. 2024 Our skin quickly absorbed the lightweight oil, giving us a luminous glow. Brittany Johnson, Verywell Health, 16 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'luminous.' 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, from Latin luminosus, from lumin-, lumen

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near luminous

Cite this Entry

“Luminous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/luminous. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

luminous

adjective
lu·​mi·​nous ˈlü-mə-nəs How to pronounce luminous (audio)
1
: giving off light : shining
2
: being lighted
a public square luminous with sunlight
3
: clear entry 1 sense 3
luminous writing
4
luminously adverb
luminousness noun

Medical Definition

luminous

adjective
lu·​mi·​nous ˈlü-mə-nəs How to pronounce luminous (audio)
1
: emitting or reflecting usually steady, suffused, or glowing light
2
: of or relating to light or to luminous flux

More from Merriam-Webster on luminous

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