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.

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 Elsewhere, Rickey Thompson and Emily Ratajkowski found their light, each selfie featuring luminous skin coupled with glossy lips and some seriously aspirational hair). Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 1 Jan. 2023 By focusing on healthy, hydrated, and luminous skin, Korean beauty formulations tend to combine ancient and cutting-edge ingredients within a realm of gentle yet effective masks, moisturizers, serums, and more. Laura Lajiness Kaupke, ELLE, 21 Dec. 2022 The uncompromising quality one would expect from Chanel is tangible in this silky foundation, which leaves a luminous finish and feels lightweight and comfortable on the skin. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, 16 Dec. 2022 Luxe Core Sheet Set Upgrade your bedding with the luxe Sateen Set, which feels rich and buttery to the touch and features a 470-thread count and slightly luminous finish. Anna Tingley, Variety, 13 Oct. 2022 The most striking image was of the Carina nebula, a vast, swirling cloud of dust that is both a star nursery and home to some of the most luminous and explosive stars in the Milky Way. BostonGlobe.com, 12 July 2022 The most striking image was of the Carina nebula, a vast, swirling cloud of dust that is both a star nursery and home to some of the most luminous and explosive stars in the Milky Way. New York Times, 12 July 2022 Expect smooth, luminous skin with consistent use of this Drunk Elephant serum. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 7 Nov. 2022 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 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 26 Jan. 2023.

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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