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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In a skimpy gold mesh top with a long black Saint Laurent skirt that hit right below the navel, the actress instantly stole the spotlight. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Zoe Kravitz Wore an 18k Gold Bra Top to the Oscars After Party," 25 Feb. 2019 Sadie Stanley is parachuting her way into the spotlight as Kim Possible in the live-action adaptation of the beloved animated series. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "13 Fun Facts About "Kim Possible" Star Sadie Stanley That’ll Make Her Your New Celeb Obsession," 8 Feb. 2019 This is not the first time Pip has stolen the spotlight. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Glenn Close's Dog Helped Her Accept an Award, Is a Very Good Boy," 4 Feb. 2019 Per Footwear News, Versace's Milan Fashion Week Men's runway also featured a slew of famous female models, all of whom epically stole the spotlight. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Emily Ratajkowski's Ponytail Just Created Some Serious Drama for Versace at Milan Fashion Week," 13 Jan. 2019 Another one was over at the Mercedes stand, where the completely awesome AMG GT-R PRO stole the spotlight from the quietly radical new GLE, which features E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Car Shows Used to Be Amazing—And They Might Be Again," 5 Dec. 2018 In 2008, a little movie called Twilight came into the world, launching stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson into the spotlight. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Anna Kendrick Forgot She Was in "Twilight"," 26 Nov. 2018 Kaanapali chefs are known to steal the spotlight, regardless of the season. The Seattle Times, "Winter getaway: Stay and play in Kaanapali, Maui," 15 Aug. 2018 During Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in May, Lady Kitty Spencer managed to do the impossible — steal the spotlight from the bride. Hannah Paine, Fox News, "Why Princess Diana's niece doesn't mind being in the spotlight," 15 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The Sears transaction spotlights the potential for problems when derivatives and bankruptcy intersect, critics say. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "Sears Bankruptcy Battle Tests Swaps Market," 19 Dec. 2018 Photo: alexander drago/Reuters Wednesday’s report is the latest evolution in the Fed’s efforts to spotlight financial stability monitoring and follows years of more intense in-house research. Andrew Ackerman, WSJ, "Fed Identifies Top Vulnerabilities Facing U.S. Financial System," 28 Nov. 2018 Jason Ryle, the festival’s artistic director, hopes that this year’s event will spotlight the diverse stories and traditions found within indigenous culture—an antithesis to the stereotypical portrayals often depicted in Hollywood, for instance. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "At imagineNATIVE, Indigenous-Made Films Challenge Expectations," 22 Sep. 2018 Never in the 12 years of the Human Rights Council, which is tasked with spotlighting and approving investigations of suspected rights abuses, has a serving member dropped out voluntarily. Washington Post, "When, not if: US poised to quit UN’s human rights council," 15 June 2018 Heinen's will spotlight Father's Day Wine Ideas 6-8 p.m. featuring six big, bold wines. Marc Bona, cleveland.com, "Wine calendar: Evening of Champagne at 750ml Wines, Stroll Through France wine dinner, Talley Vineyards at L'Albatros, more," 15 May 2018 If Festival in the Park can’t come soon enough, its smaller sister event Kings Drive Art Walk spotlights visual art and live outdoor performances on a smaller scale Saturday. Courtney Devores, charlotteobserver, "Your 5-minute guide to the best things to do in Charlotte | May 4-10 | Charlotte Observer," 2 May 2018 Shane Strickland will defend his world heavyweight championship against Pentagon, MVP wrestles Maxwell J. Friedman, and the show will also spotlight Jake Hager, who was Jack Swagger in WWE. Justin Barrasso, SI.com, "The Week in Wrestling: How Hulk Hogan Fell in Love With Sports at the Boys and Girls Club," 2 May 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of spotlight

Noun

1904, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spotlight

Share spotlight

Dictionary Entries near spotlight

spot lamp

spot lens

spotless

spotlight

spotlighter

spotlike

spot line

Statistics for spotlight

Last Updated

10 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spotlight

The first known use of spotlight was in 1904

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on spotlight

What made you want to look up spotlight? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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