brilliant

1 of 2

adjective

bril·​liant ˈbril-yənt How to pronounce brilliant (audio)
1
: very bright : glittering
a brilliant light
2
a
: striking, distinctive
a brilliant example
b
: distinguished by unusual mental keenness or alertness
brilliant scientists
3
British : very good : excellent
brilliantly adverb

brilliant

2 of 2

noun

: a gem (such as a diamond) cut in a particular form with numerous facets so as to have special brightness or brilliance

Illustration of brilliant

Illustration of brilliant
  • 1 table
  • 2 bezel
  • 3 girdle
  • 4 pavilion
  • 5 culet
Choose the Right Synonym for brilliant

bright, brilliant, radiant, luminous, lustrous mean shining or glowing with light.

bright implies emitting or reflecting a high degree of light.

brilliant implies intense often sparkling brightness.

radiant stresses the emission or seeming emission of rays of light.

luminous implies emission of steady, suffused, glowing light by reflection or in surrounding darkness.

lustrous stresses an even, rich light from a surface that reflects brightly without glittering.

Example Sentences

Adjective a brilliant star in the sky a store decorated in brilliant colors He pitched a brilliant game. She gave a brilliant performance. She has a brilliant mind. Noun the diamond cutter set out an array of brilliants to show the various ways the diamond could be cut See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The original was brilliant in its own way yet barely hinted at the classic it was destined to become. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 11 Nov. 2022 As the young count who inherits a large fortune, the actor is brilliant as a boy stumbling through the world trying to find love and peace amongst a world in turmoil. Robert English, EW.com, 10 Nov. 2022 Gage is brilliant in showing us who the man was without using any labels. Kai Bird, Washington Post, 9 Nov. 2022 Valdez was brilliant once again in Saturday night's clincher. Michael Shapiro, Chron, 8 Nov. 2022 Hofstadter is brilliant at analyzing types that feel quite familiar to us today—the crusading urban progressive, the small-town conspiracy theorist. The Atlantic, 4 Nov. 2022 Instead, health care is a system of people who are brilliant, creative, caring, hard working, generous, and more. Sarah Smithson, STAT, 31 Oct. 2022 The restaurants—serving everything from old-style omakase to fine Italian cuisine—are brilliant, as is the spa, but it’s the rooms and interiors that really make the place stand out as a must-visit. Ashley Ogawa Clarke, Vogue, 27 Oct. 2022 Joe Burrow and the passing game were brilliant again. The Enquirer, 27 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brilliant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

French brillant, present participle of briller to shine, from Italian brillare

Noun

borrowed from French brillant, noun derivative of brillant brilliant entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

circa 1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1690, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of brilliant was circa 1681

Dictionary Entries Near brilliant

Cite this Entry

“Brilliant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brilliant. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

brilliant 1 of 2

adjective

bril·​liant ˈbril-yənt How to pronounce brilliant (audio)
1
: flashing with light : very bright
brilliant jewels
2
a
: very impressive
a brilliant career
b
: very smart or clever
a brilliant student
a brilliant idea
brilliantly adverb

brilliant

2 of 2

noun

: a gem (as a diamond) cut so as to sparkle

More from Merriam-Webster on brilliant

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