lu·​mi·​nous | \ ˈlü-mə-nəs How to pronounce luminous (audio) \

Definition of luminous

1a : emitting or reflecting usually steady, suffused, or glowing light luminous objects—the nebula, the stars, the planets— Lincoln 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from luminous

luminously adverb
luminousness noun

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.

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.

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Imagine the clear blue waters of Cabo, the scent of your mother's kitchen, or the miles of green grass covering a sunny mountainside, all channeled into a vibrant coral, luminous periwinkle, or crisp aqua suitcase. Cortne Bonilla,, "Serena Williams & Away’s Unlikely Collab Gave Us Wanderlust," 28 Jan. 2021 To complement this, makeup artist Peter Philips played around with pearlescent textures around the eyes and luminous accents on skin. Tish Weinstock, Vogue, "At Fendi Couture, a Supermodel Primer for Fresh-From-the-Shower Hair," 27 Jan. 2021 To picture the brightness of this highly energetic object, imagine our sun -- but 10 trillion times more luminous. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Oldest quasar and supermassive black hole discovered in the distant universe," 14 Jan. 2021 The results could be predictable, occasionally shocking, and sometimes sorrowful or luminous. Alissa Quart, The New Republic, "Michael Apted Took The Very Long View," 12 Jan. 2021 The luminous and twinkling lights previously tangible to me in holidays’ past, blurred through FaceTime and a weak WiFi connection. Natalie Johnson, NBC News, "Natalie Johnson: The year that changed us, and how we're learning to grieve," 21 Dec. 2020 However, over the years while working with the likes of Gemma Chan, Megan Fox, and America Ferrera, Blunder has had trouble finding a clean complexion product that suited her trademark, luminous look. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Makeup Artist Monika Blunder Just Launched the Clean Foundation of Our Dreams," 30 Nov. 2020 Rough, bone-dry limbs are no match for this mixture of fresh ginger, coconut, and grapefruit, which gently exfoliates away dead skin cells while toning and moisturizing for an unseasonably luminous finish. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Why a Hot Ginger Bath Is the Perfect Detox Ritual for Winter," 30 Dec. 2020 The creamy shimmer shadows offer buildable coverage and emit a luminous finish; the mattes are just as easy to blend but achieve a more dramatic look; and the metallic hues give stunning texture and dimension for glistening eyes. Gabrielle Pharms, USA TODAY, "10 amazing beauty gifts from BIPOC-owned brands," 19 Dec. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of luminous

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

History and Etymology for luminous

Middle English, from Latin luminosus, from lumin-, lumen

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about luminous

Time Traveler for luminous

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for luminous

Last Updated

10 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Luminous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for luminous



English Language Learners Definition of luminous

: producing or seeming to produce light
: filled with light : brightly lit
: very bright in color


lu·​mi·​nous | \ ˈlü-mə-nəs How to pronounce luminous (audio) \

Kids Definition of luminous

: giving off light The dial of the clock was luminous and it shed a very soft green light.— George Selden, The Cricket in Times Square

Other Words from luminous

luminously adverb


lu·​mi·​nous | \ ˈlü-mə-nəs How to pronounce luminous (audio) \

Medical Definition of luminous

1 : emitting or reflecting usually steady, suffused, or glowing light
2 : of or relating to light or to luminous flux

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on luminous

What made you want to look up luminous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!