spot·​light | \ ˈspät-ˌlīt How to pronounce spotlight (audio) \

Definition of spotlight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a projected spot of light used to illuminate brilliantly a person, object, or group on a stage
b : public notice or attention held the political spotlight
2a : a light designed to direct a narrow intense beam of light on a small area
b : something that illuminates brilliantly


spotlighted or spotlit; spotlighting

Definition of spotlight (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to illuminate with a spotlight
2 : to direct attention to : highlight

Examples of spotlight in a Sentence

Noun They aimed the spotlight at the center of the stage. A spotlight moved across the stage. The actor stood in the spotlight. a baseball star who hates the spotlight They're always in the spotlight. The news article turned the spotlight on the city's financial problems. Verb She was spotlighted as she sang her solo. The news spotlighted the city's financial problems.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Having been in the spotlight the vast majority of her life, both onscreen as an actor and offscreen as a Hollywood cautionary tale, Evan Rachel Wood understands how media works. Caroline Framke, Variety, 23 Jan. 2022 Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps no symptom has been in the spotlight more than loss of smell. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 23 Jan. 2022 Alabama would have to come back twice after that to earn the unconventional 10-point win but the starters clearly got the message watching the 185-pound walk-on fight for every scrap in his three minutes in the spotlight. Michael Casagrande |, al, 22 Jan. 2022 Part of the upside of being in the spotlight at Duke and a highly touted, number two draft selection in the NBA is being the subject of hundreds of interviews. Omaid Homayun, Forbes, 22 Jan. 2022 The race to understand the coronavirus pandemic put bioscience in the spotlight. Alexandra Watts, The Arizona Republic, 22 Jan. 2022 Although two-stone ring styles are in the spotlight right now—courtesy of Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly's recent engagement—they're actually not that new. Deanna Pai, Glamour, 20 Jan. 2022 While curtain bangs are definitely having a moment — with Gaga seeming to be one of the latest participants in this reemerging hair trend — bottleneck bangs are enjoying some time in the spotlight as well. Sara Miranda, Allure, 20 Jan. 2022 Kai Shappley, an 11-year-old transgender girl from Texas, is in the spotlight once again after she was named a Time Kid of the Year finalist. NBC News, 20 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The museum also houses world-class traveling exhibits that spotlight legendary artists like Monet and Georgia O'Keeffe. Tamara Gane, Travel + Leisure, 5 Dec. 2021 Part of demonstrating a commitment to DEI is allowing employees to process events that spotlight racial inequity or other social ills. Phil Wahba, Fortune, 30 Nov. 2021 The Envelope podcast has returned with brand-new episodes that spotlight this awards season’s top contenders. Los Angeles Times, 26 Nov. 2021 Until those standards are developed, however, corporate tax departments are left managing an unwieldy asset that is subject to quarterly revaluations that disproportionately spotlight downside risk. Brian Peccarelli, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 Guadalupe Dance Company: The troupe will mark its 30th anniversary with an outdoor performance that will spotlight dances from the Mexican states of Guerrero, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tamaulipas and Veracruz. Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, 8 Sep. 2021 Now, the label will spotlight Carole King in the archival live album Home Again. Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone, 6 Jan. 2022 The gallery will spotlight Kurre's abstract collages, paintings and objects that integrate his love for the outdoors, exploring and gardening. Sofia Krusmark, The Arizona Republic, 4 Jan. 2022 On the anniversary of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, a slate of events hosted by Democrats will spotlight the violence of the insurrection and the stories of those who experienced it firsthand. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, 4 Jan. 2022

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spotlight.' 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 spotlight


1904, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1907, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for spotlight

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The first known use of spotlight was in 1904

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Statistics for spotlight

Last Updated

25 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Spotlight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for spotlight



English Language Learners Definition of spotlight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a device that directs a narrow, bright beam of light on a small area
: the area of light created by a spotlight
: public attention or notice



English Language Learners Definition of spotlight (Entry 2 of 2)

: to shine a spotlight on (someone or something)
: to give special attention to (something)


spot·​light | \ ˈspät-ˌlīt How to pronounce spotlight (audio) \

Kids Definition of spotlight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a spot of light used to show up a particular area, person, or thing (as on a stage)
2 : public notice She's a celebrity but doesn't like the spotlight.
3 : a lamp used to direct a narrow strong beam of light on a small area


spotlighted or spotlit\ ˈspät-​ˌlit \; spotlighting

Kids Definition of spotlight (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to light up with or as if with a spotlight
2 : to bring to public attention

More from Merriam-Webster on spotlight

Nglish: Translation of spotlight for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spotlight for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about spotlight


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