Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[lim] /lɪm/
verb (used with object)
to represent in drawing or painting.
to portray in words; describe.
Obsolete. to illuminate (manuscripts).
Origin of limn
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English lymne, variant of Middle English luminen to illuminate (manuscripts), aphetic variant of enlumine < Middle French enluminer < Latin inlūmināre to embellish, literally, light up; see illuminate
Related forms
outlimn, verb (used with object)
unlimned, adjective
Can be confused
limb, limn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for limned
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The figures in Pompeiian frescoes are limned upon a blank bright wall, most frequently deep red in color.

  • Every feature of the old captains face was limned with grief.

    Cursed George Allan England
  • limned faintly against the reflected light was the outline of a crouching man's body.

    Hawk Carse Anthony Gilmore
  • But the words of Professor Maniel were limned on the retina of his brain in letters of fire.

  • There was one only of the group who had not been limned by Miss Rothesay.

    Olive Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)
  • His cherished picture was hanging there and the lovely figure was limned as usual in living lines upon the paper.

    Romances of Old Japan Yei Theodora Ozaki
  • There stood the son of Siegmund in such dainty grace, as he were limned on parchment by skillful master's art.

  • There was no suggestion of a body, only that majestic head crowned with hyacinthine locks and limned in lambent fire.

    The Doomsman Van Tassel Sutphen
  • The overhead light shimmered off her hair and limned her figure with shadows.

    Industrial Revolution Poul William Anderson
British Dictionary definitions for limned


verb (transitive)
to represent in drawing or painting
(archaic) to describe in words
an obsolete word for illuminate
Derived Forms
limner (ˈlɪmnə) noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French enluminer to illumine (a manuscript) from Latin inlūmināre to brighten, from lūmen light
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for limned



early 15c., "to illuminate" (manuscripts), altered from Middle English luminen, "to illuminate manuscripts" (late 14c.), from Old French luminer "light up, illuminate," from Latin luminare "illuminate, burnish," from lumen (genitive luminis) "radiant energy, light," related to lucere "to shine" (see light (n.)). Sense of "portray, depict" first recorded 1590s. Related: Limned.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for limn

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for limned

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for limned