lu·​nette lü-ˈnet How to pronounce lunette (audio)
: something that has the shape of a crescent or half-moon: such as
: an opening in a vault especially for a window
: the surface at the upper part of a wall that is partly surrounded by a vault which the wall intersects and that is often filled by windows or by mural painting
: a low crescentic mound (as of sand) formed by the wind
: the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Did you know?

Lunette, a word borrowed from French, looks like it should mean "little moon"—luna being Latin for "moon" and -ette being a diminutive suffix. There is indeed some 17th-century evidence of the word being used for a small celestial moon, but that meaning is now obsolete. Earlier, in the 16th century, lunette referred to a horseshoe having only the front semicircular part—a meaning that still exists but is quite rare. Other senses of lunette that are infrequently used nowadays include "a blinder especially for a vicious horse" and, in the plural form, "spectacles." (Lunettes is the usual term for eyeglasses in modern French.) The oldest meaning of lunette still in common use is "something shaped like a crescent or half-moon," which our evidence dates to the early 1600s.

Examples of lunette in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Because the surrounding lunettes were redesigned, getting rid of this architectural addition might not be possible, which would be a shame given that the original painting appears to be in perfect condition. Sarah Belmont For Artnews, Robb Report, 5 July 2023 Preliminary plans for an outdoor exhibit replicating the 1836 main gate/lunette of the Alamo are in production, with plans to be presented to the commission in time for a public opening by the end of 2022. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, 2 Feb. 2022 The sand kicked up by the sheep began to scarify one lunette, stripping the native vegetation that bound it together. David Maurice Smith, Smithsonian, 23 Aug. 2019 For less eccentricity and fancier pastries, such as almond kouign-amanns, hazelnut lunettes and Earl Grey scones, hit Le Petit Outre. Dina Mishev, Washington Post, 11 Sep. 2019 Along the walls of the arcade are 26 lunettes with symbolical designs and subjects such as Agriculture, Art, Justice, Knowledge, Music, Navigation, Peace and Thrift. Dan Austin, Detroit Free Press, 1 Sep. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lunette.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from Old French lunete small object shaped like the moon, from lune moon

First Known Use

circa 1639, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lunette was circa 1639


Dictionary Entries Near lunette

Cite this Entry

“Lunette.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

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