spotlight

noun
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

spotlight

verb
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

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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

The five bills come in the wake of the national college-admissions scandal that has putshone a spotlight on methods used by some wealthy and powerful people to get around the normal college-admissions process. Alejandro Lazo, WSJ, "California Lawmakers Look to Reform College Admissions After Scandal," 28 Mar. 2019 Both incidents have placed a harsh spotlight on Boeing, which has seen all of Max 8 and 9 jets grounded by aviation authorities throughout the world in the immediate wake of the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy which killed 157 earlier this month. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Report: Boeing Charged Extra for Safety Features Tied to 737 Max Crashes," 21 Mar. 2019 For a police procedural, Blue Bloods shines a pretty bright spotlight on the character's personal relationships. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Star Tom Selleck Confirms If Frank Reagan Will Date a Woman From His Past," 8 Feb. 2019 Khashoggi’s high-profile disappearance and murder shined a spotlight on the lack of respect for human rights and freedom of speech within Saudi Arabia, and the country’s bloody, reprehensible war on Yemen that has left tens of thousands dead. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Time’s 2018 Person of the Year is Jamal Khashoggi and other “Guardians” of the truth," 11 Dec. 2018 Long enough to develop an idea, short enough to focus on a single strand of plot, novellas (and serials) got the spotlight in almost every issue. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: Tomorrow’s Nightmares Start Today," 26 Apr. 2019 In short, Kate and Harry seem to be close friends, despite the hectic spotlight thrust upon the royals right now. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "A Body Language Expert Analyzes How Kate Middleton and Prince Harry Really Feel About Each Other," 26 Apr. 2019 Given Joe's lengthy political career and former role as Vice President, the Biden family is no stranger to the spotlight. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Why Jill Biden Might Just Be Joe Biden's Greatest Political Asset," 25 Apr. 2019 The arts-and-crafts pattern is having a real moment in the fashion spotlight once again. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "Tie-Dye Nails Are Here Just in Time for Summer," 24 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The 10-episode revival aims to spotlight families who give back to their communities, despite their own personal challenges. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "HGTV Is Now Casting Families for 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'," 1 Apr. 2019 Obamacare’s preexisting conditions protections are very popular with and particularly important for women, a fact further highlighted by a Heitkamp ad that spotlights two women. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Tammy Baldwin is leading an effort to protect coverage for preexisting conditions ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.," 29 Aug. 2018 More importantly, Amazon uses the savings event to spotlight its own products and hook new members on its subscription program. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: What to watch for at today’s Trump-Putin summit," 16 July 2018 Now massive protests have spotlighted Algeria’s style of governance, as Mr. Bouteflika’s circle struggles to navigate the country’s most serious crisis since a devastating civil war in the 1990s. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, "Massive Protests Present Big Test for Secretive Algerian Government," 15 Mar. 2019 Johnson’s case spotlights legislation Trump signed into law last year to address concerns about the criminal justice system, including giving judges more discretion in sentencing some drug offenders. Darlene Superville, The Seattle Times, "Trump guests include freed drug offender, bullied student," 5 Feb. 2019 Nothing spotlights Luis’s support for his creative team better than his team’s own reflections. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Constant Innovation in a Culture of Inclusivity: A Conversation With Tapestry CEO Victor Luis," 30 Jan. 2019 The festival spotlights the latest in music film, ranging from intimate portraits of artists to career-spanning retrospectives, as well as introduces a new generation of viewers to archival films. Rebecca Misner, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Portland, OR, in January 2019," 20 Dec. 2018 The trophy for 2019 went to 29-year-old Bethany Williams, spotlighting her activism as a trailblazer for change. Sarah Mower, Vogue, "The Duchess of Cornwall Presents the Second Queen Elizabeth II Award for Design to Bethany Williams," 19 Feb. 2019

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

Noun

1904, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Learn More about spotlight

Dictionary Entries near spotlight

spot lamp

spot lens

spotless

spotlight

spotlighter

spotlike

spot line

Statistics for spotlight

Last Updated

19 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spotlight

The first known use of spotlight was in 1904

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More Definitions for spotlight

spotlight

noun

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

spotlight

verb

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

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

spotlight

noun
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

spotlight

verb
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

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Comments on spotlight

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