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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Jupiter and Venus are by far two of the most luminous planets in Earth’s sky. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 28 Apr. 2022 That’s the big takeaway from a small, luminous, and revelatory exhibition that opened last month at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College. Steven Litt, cleveland, 3 Apr. 2022 For a moment, her entire being seems luminous with the promise of happiness. The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2022 This foundation is the very definition of luminous. Gabi Thorne, Allure, 1 Mar. 2022 This person is, of course, Trinity (though her slave name is, cruelly and hilariously, Tiffany), and she is played by a Carrie-Anne Moss who is still regal, still a bit alien with her luminous blue eyes and face full of angles, still cool as hell. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, 22 Dec. 2021 The new Kinder Building, whose exterior is romantically luminous after dark, also features an image-bending interactive wall that compels you to move around with friends and strangers alike. Robin Soslow, Chron, 3 Dec. 2021 This is when the outer planet will be at its most luminous, making for a brilliant night sky view. Megan Marples, CNN, 30 July 2021 In order to put their best faces forward, celebrities must put in the work for a healthy, luminous finish. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 24 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for luminous

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near luminous

luminosity curve


luminous efficiency

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Statistics for luminous

Last Updated

5 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Luminous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for luminous


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

More from Merriam-Webster on luminous

Nglish: Translation of luminous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of luminous for Arabic Speakers


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