[ bril-yuhnt ]
/ ˈbrɪl yənt /
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See synonyms for: brilliant / brilliants / brilliantly on Thesaurus.com

Jewelry. a gem, especially a diamond, having any of several varieties of the brilliant cut.
Printing. a size of type about 3½-point.
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Origin of brilliant

1675–85; <French brillant shining, present participle of briller<Italian brillare to glitter (perhaps derivative of an expressive root); see -ant

synonym study for brilliant

1. See bright.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does brilliant mean?

Brilliant is commonly used to mean extremely intelligent, as in a brilliant mathematician or a brilliant idea. People considered geniuses are often described as brilliant in this way.

It can also be used to describe something considered outstanding, exceptional, or magnificent, as in a brilliant performance. In the U.K., brilliant is often used in an informal way to mean excellent or awesome.

These senses of brilliant are based on its more general meaning—shining brightly or sparkling. Bright sunshine can be described as brilliant in this way. A very sparkly gem such as a diamond could also be described as brilliant.

In fact, the term brilliant cut refers to a type of cut used to increase the sparkliness of gems, especially diamonds. Brilliant can even be used as a noun to refer to such a diamond.

Brilliant can also be used to mean vivid or vibrant. This sense of the word is especially used to describe colors and sounds that stand out due to being especially strong and clear.

The noun brilliance refers to the quality of someone or something that is brilliant.

Example: It was a brilliant performance from a brilliant musical mind.

Where does brilliant come from?

The first records of the word brilliant come from around 1680. It comes from the French brillant, meaning “shining,” from the French verb briller, “to shine.”

Brilliant was originally used as a way to describe things that literally shine or sparkle, such as the sun or a diamond. Eventually, it started to be used to describe people with shining intellects.

Brilliant cut diamonds are those that are cut in a way that’s intended to maximize their brilliance—a large number of facets are added in order to better catch the light and reflect it back.

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What are some other forms related to brilliant?

What are some synonyms for brilliant?

What are some words that share a root or word element with brilliant

What are some words that often get used in discussing brilliant?

How is brilliant used in real life?

Brilliant is usually used in a positive way. It’s especially used to describe very smart people and things that shine.



Try using brilliant!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of brilliant?

A. shining
B. gloomy
C. bright
D. vibrant

How to use brilliant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for brilliant

/ (ˈbrɪljənt) /

Also called: brilliant cut
  1. a popular circular cut for diamonds and other gemstones in the form of two many-faceted pyramids (the top one truncated) joined at their bases
  2. a diamond of this cut
(formerly) a size of a printer's type approximately equal to 4 point

Derived forms of brilliant

brilliantly, adverb

Word Origin for brilliant

C17: from French brillant shining, from briller to shine, from Italian brillare, from brillo beryl
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