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[luhs-ter] /ˈlʌs tər/
the state or quality of shining by reflecting light; glitter, sparkle, sheen, or gloss:
the luster of satin.
a substance, as a coating or polish, used to impart sheen or gloss.
radiant or luminous brightness; brilliance; radiance.
radiance of beauty, excellence, merit, distinction, or glory:
achievements that add luster to one's name.
a shining object, especially one used for decoration, as a cut-glass pendant or ornament.
a chandelier, candleholder, etc., ornamented with cut-glass pendants.
any natural or synthetic fabric with a lustrous finish.
Also called metallic luster. an iridescent metallic film produced on the surface of a ceramic glaze.
Mineralogy. the nature of a mineral surface with respect to its reflective qualities:
greasy luster.
verb (used with object)
to finish (fur, cloth, pottery, etc.) with a luster or gloss.
verb (used without object)
to be or become lustrous.
Also, especially British, lustre.
Origin of luster1
1515-25; < Middle French lustre < Italian lustro, derivative of lustrare to polish, purify < Latin lūstrāre to purify ceremonially, derivative of lūstrum lustrum
Related forms
lusterless, adjective
1. See polish.
1. dullness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lusterless
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And all was white and lusterless save the warning dusk of her eyes and the flash from her parting lips.

    Ewing\'s Lady Harry Leon Wilson
  • The plumes of the wings are set studiously in their places,—they, also, lusterless.

    Ariadne Florentina John Ruskin
  • He could see that Karyl's eyes also were weary and lusterless.

    The Lighted Match Charles Neville Buck
  • Her lusterless eyes were fired by the only thing that could fire them: her bitter jealousy.

    Hidden Gold Wilder Anthony
  • Walls and pavement were of unpolished marble, lusterless white.

    The City of Delight Elizabeth Miller
  • The man lay upon his back and stared upward with lusterless eyes.

    Christ Legends Selma Lagerlf
  • Arthur lifted up his head in a fright, and saw a pallid face and lusterless eyes.

    The Art of Disappearing John Talbot Smith
  • Her heavy coat no longer shone with gloss but lay flat and lusterless.

    The Whelps of the Wolf George Marsh
Word Origin and History for lusterless



"gloss, radiance," 1520s, from Middle French lustre "gloss, radiance" (14c.), common Romanic (cf. Spanish and Portuguese lustre, Rumanian lustru, Italian lustro "splendor, brilliancy"), from Latin lustrare "spread light over, brighten, illumine," related to lucere "shine," lux "light" (see light (n.)).

"one who lusts," 1590s, agent noun from lust (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lusterless in Science
The shine from the surface of a mineral. Luster is important in describing different kinds of minerals. It is usually characterized as metallic, glassy, pearly, or dull.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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