lu·​mi·​nous | \ ˈlü-mə-nəs How to pronounce luminous (audio) \

Definition of luminous

1a : emitting or reflecting usually steady, suffused, or glowing light luminous objects—the nebula, the stars, the planets— Lincoln La Paz
b : of or relating to light or to luminous flux
2 : bathed in or exposed to steady light luminous with sunlight
3 : clear, enlightening a luminous explanation
4 : shining, illustrious a luminous film star a luminous performance

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Other Words from luminous

luminously adverb
luminousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for luminous

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.

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Luminous, like its synonyms radiant, shining, glowing, and lustrous, is generally a positive adjective, especially when it describes something that doesn't literally glow, such as a face, a performance, or a poem. Luminous signs depend on a gas such as neon, krypton, argon, xenon, or radon—and you can use luminous (DayGlo) paint to make your own signs. New technologies have now given us luminous fabrics, which are being used to produce striking or creepy effects in clothing, upholstery, and interior surfaces.

Examples of luminous in a Sentence

I saw the cat's luminous eyes in my car's headlights. a watch with a luminous dial The room was luminous with sunlight.
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Recent Examples on the Web The early purchases included three major series of lithographs and a pair of luminous pastels considered among the artist’s finest works. Steven Litt, cleveland, 3 Oct. 2021 Meret Meyer, Chagall’s granddaughter, remembers making frequent visits to the village, recalling the heavy stone structure of the house and its big, luminous studio. Washington Post, 1 Oct. 2021 Light-catching gold accessories and a touch of similarly luminous highlighter at the corner of each eye provided a nod to sunnier days. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 2 June 2021 In the darkness of the deep sea, the ocean surface is a faintly luminous backdrop against which a glowing shark would disappear when viewed from below, concealing it from predators or prey. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Mar. 2021 In the latest roundup of the best beauty Instagrams, luminous skin, eye-catching liner, and playful hair transformations stood out. Michella Oré, Vogue, 12 Sep. 2021 Their famous Gold Standard Facial combines facial techniques, skin tightening and AquaGold Fine Touch to give you your most luminous skin yet. Rana Good, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 Naturally, tool watches need to have luminous indexes and hands but the model’s 0.3 mm-thick dial proved a challenge. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 7 Sep. 2021 The diamond and white topaz teardrop necklace is a luminous example. Kyle Roderick, Forbes, 4 Sep. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for luminous

Middle English, from Latin luminosus, from lumin-, lumen

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Time Traveler for luminous

Time Traveler

The first known use of luminous was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near luminous

luminosity curve


luminous efficiency

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Statistics for luminous

Last Updated

8 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Luminous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for luminous



English Language Learners Definition of luminous

: producing or seeming to produce light : shining
: filled with light : brightly lit
: very bright in color


lu·​mi·​nous | \ ˈlü-mə-nəs How to pronounce luminous (audio) \

Kids Definition of luminous

: giving off light The dial of the clock was luminous and it shed a very soft green light.— George Selden, The Cricket in Times Square

Other Words from luminous

luminously adverb


lu·​mi·​nous | \ ˈlü-mə-nəs How to pronounce luminous (audio) \

Medical Definition of luminous

1 : emitting or reflecting usually steady, suffused, or glowing light
2 : of or relating to light or to luminous flux

More from Merriam-Webster on luminous

Nglish: Translation of luminous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of luminous for Arabic Speakers


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