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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

With its luminous glow and sensual curves, glass is surely one of the most mesmerizing of art forms, and these days, people can’t seem to get enough of it. Harriot Manley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Butte County artists putting their visions into glass," 16 Mar. 2018 Technical contributions are across-the-board outstanding, especially the sharp, luminous cinematography of John Schwartzman. Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Armageddon': THR's 1998 Review," 1 July 2019 With the same intense focus that her character Mauro applies to his cooking, de Kerangal homes in on every luminous sensory detail, immersing readers in a world boiled down to pure sight, sound, and taste. The Atlantic, "What We’re Reading This Summer," 28 June 2019 Blue Mesa Reservoir Colorado’s largest body of water is located near Gunnison in the Curecanti National Recreation Area and is so named because of its luminous blue water. Patricia Cameron, The Know, "10 of the best spots to fish in Colorado," 22 June 2019 Sure, it could be used on its own to give skin a luminous sheen. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Pat McGrath Is About to Launch the Ultimate Foundation System," 12 June 2019 That will always be my favorite experience with these luminous creatures. Kirsten Luce, National Geographic, "See thousands of fireflies light up a Mexican forest," 17 June 2019 Believable performances from veteran actor Chang Feng and a luminous Ge Lei (a.k.a. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Return' ('Fu Xiang Xin'): Film Review | Shanghai 2019," 16 June 2019 The luminous design team has earned its raft of Tony nominations in a production that scenically never misses a beat. Charles Mcnulty,, "Why ‘Hadestown’ deserves the Tony Award for best musical of the year," 3 June 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for luminous

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for luminous

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on luminous

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with luminous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for luminous

Spanish Central: Translation of luminous

Nglish: Translation of luminous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of luminous for Arabic Speakers

Comments on luminous

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to form ideas or theories about something

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