noun (1)
lus·​ter | \ ˈlə-stər How to pronounce luster (audio) \
variants: or lustre

Definition of luster

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a glow of reflected light : sheen specifically : the appearance of the surface of a mineral dependent upon its reflecting qualities the luster of polished metal
2a : a glow of light from within : luminosity the luster of the stars
b : an inner beauty : radiance
3 : a superficial (see superficial sense 2a) attractiveness or appearance of excellence scandals have diminished his luster
4a : a glass pendant (see pendant sense 1a) used especially to ornament a candlestick or chandelier
b : a decorative object (such as a chandelier) hung with glass pendants
5 chiefly British : a fabric with cotton warp and a filling of wool, mohair, or alpaca


variants: or lustre
lustered or lustred; lustering or lustring\ ˈlə-​st(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce luster (audio) \

Definition of luster (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to have luster : gleam

transitive verb

1 : to give luster or distinction to
2 : to coat or treat with a substance that imparts luster


noun (2)
variants: or lustre

Definition of luster (Entry 3 of 3)

: a period of five years : lustrum sense 2

Other Words from luster

Noun (1)

lusterless \ ˈlə-​stər-​ləs How to pronounce luster (audio) \ adjective

Examples of luster in a Sentence

Verb her pearl necklace lustered softly in the candlelight of the restaurant

First Known Use of luster

Noun (1)

circa 1522, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1528, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for luster

Noun (1)

Middle French lustre, from Old Italian lustro, from lustrare to brighten, from Latin, to purify ceremonially, from lustrum


verbal derivative of luster entry 1

Noun (2)

Middle English lustre, from Latin lustrum

Learn More About luster

Time Traveler for luster

Time Traveler

The first known use of luster was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near luster



luster blue

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for luster

Cite this Entry

“Luster.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for luster


variants: or lustre \ ˈlə-​stər \

Kids Definition of luster

: the shiny quality of a surface that reflects light a pearl's luster

More from Merriam-Webster on luster

Nglish: Translation of luster for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of luster for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!