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 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
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.

Example Sentences

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 Twenty-five years after his father abandoned him, Searcher owns a successful business harvesting pando (a luminous green plant that supplies the city’s electricity) and enthusiastically tends to his own family. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Nov. 2022 From weight to distance, to time and luminous intensity, the international standards cover seven base units, meaning any prefixes can consistently cover all units. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 21 Nov. 2022 The behemoth stage also includes walls of video screens that envelop the room – Adele's expressive eyes and luminous smile made frequent appearances – and sliding platforms for band members. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 19 Nov. 2022 These luminous objects, called Population III stars, have long been theorized as the first stars ever born in the cosmos. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 17 Nov. 2022 Invicta's customer-favorite version is made with luminous markers, water resistance up to 200 meters, and a stainless steel outlook that'll dress up any look (yes, even your faded wash tee). Christian Gollayan, Men's Health, 15 Nov. 2022 Scriabin was a philosopher as well as a composer, and his 10 sonatas for piano show his evolution from a dutiful student of Chopin’s music into a luminous visionary of new colors and harmonies. Luke Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Nov. 2022 Luminizing Face Enhancer contains light-diffusing pigments to give anyone who wears it a luminous glow — even in the dead of winter. Allure, 26 Oct. 2022 So enjoy the lowest, largest and most luminous full Moon of summer 2021—and be sure to catch it at moonrise. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 21 June 2021 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.

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 2 Dec. 2022.

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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