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[loo-muh-nuh s] /ˈlu mə nəs/
radiating or reflecting light; shining; bright.
lighted up or illuminated; well-lighted:
the luminous ballroom.
brilliant intellectually; enlightened or enlightening, as a writer or a writer's works:
a luminous concept; luminous prose.
clear; readily intelligible:
a concise, luminous report.
Origin of luminous
late Middle English
First recorded in 1400-50; late Middle English word from Latin word lūminōsus. See lumen, -ous
Related forms
luminously, adverb
luminousness, noun
nonluminous, adjective
nonluminously, adverb
nonluminousness, noun
self-luminous, adjective
semiluminous, adjective
semiluminously, adverb
semiluminousness, noun
unluminous, adjective
unluminously, adverb
unluminousness, noun
1. lucid, radiant, resplendent, brilliant. 3. bright, intelligent. 4. understandable, perspicuous, lucid.
1, 2. dark. 3. stupid. 4. obscure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for luminously
Historical Examples
  • Her eyes, her childish face were luminously candid as she handed him the letter.

    Crome Yellow Aldous Huxley
  • It was luminously clear; yet the sky was overcast, no stars showing.

    The Metal Monster A. Merritt
  • There is still gold in his moustache and his eyes are luminously blue.

    Unicorns James Huneker
  • That was luminously evident, although the shades were lowered.

    Beasley's Christmas Party Booth Tarkington
  • Flora luminously considered; after which, with her little divine smile: "Because I don't like to frighten you!"

    The Turn of the Screw Henry James
  • Yard-long antennae, slender and luminously green, wavered above a grotesque head.

  • She luminously wavered, and I tentatively inferred that she would soon perfectly reconsider her not altogether unobvious course.

    The Re-echo Club Carolyn Wells
  • I stopped with some degree of irritation; for the point which separated us was most luminously marked by this expression.

  • Letitia had painted her position so luminously, and had etched me in in such somber tints, that I felt master of the situation.

    Wanted: A Cook Alan Dale
  • Diplomatists seldom desire to be comprehended; but occasionally, when they do, how luminously plain they can be!

British Dictionary definitions for luminously


radiating or reflecting light; shining; glowing: luminous colours
(not in technical use) exhibiting luminescence: luminous paint
full of light; well-lit
(of a physical quantity in photometry) evaluated according to the visual sensation produced in an observer rather than by absolute energy measurements: luminous flux, luminous intensity Compare radiant
easily understood; lucid; clear
enlightening or wise
Derived Forms
luminously, adverb
luminousness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin lūminōsus full of light, 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
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Word Origin and History for luminously



early 15c., "full of light," from Latin luminosus "shining, full of light," from lumen (genitive luminis) "light," related to lucere "to shine" (see light (n.)). Related: Luminously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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luminously in Medicine

luminous lu·mi·nous (lōō'mə-nəs)
Emitting light, especially emitting self-generated light.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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