ru·​ti·​lant | \ ˈrü-tə-lənt How to pronounce rutilant (audio) \

Definition of rutilant

: having a reddish glow

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Rutilant, which first appeared in English late in the 15th century, is used in English today to describe anything with a reddish or fiery glow, such as a sunset or flushed skin. It derives from the Latin rutilus, meaning "ruddy," which is probably related to the Latin ruber, meaning "red." "Ruber" itself is a direct ancestor of our word rubella (a disease named for the reddish color one's skin turns when afflicted with the condition) and "rubric" (which, among other things, can refer to a book or manuscript heading that is done or underlined in red). "Ruber" is also a distant relative of several English words for things that bear a reddish tone (including "russet," "rouge," and "ruby") and even of the word red itself.

First Known Use of rutilant

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rutilant

Middle English rutilaunt, from Latin rutilant-, rutilans, past participle of rutilare to glow reddish, from rutilus ruddy; probably akin to Latin ruber red — more at red

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Cite this Entry

“Rutilant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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