[ bril-yuhnt ]
See synonyms for: brilliantbrilliantsbrilliantly on

  1. shining brightly; sparkling; glittering; lustrous: the brilliant lights of the city.

  2. distinguished; illustrious: a brilliant performance by a young pianist.

  1. having or showing great intelligence, talent, quality, etc.: a brilliant technician.

  2. strong and clear in tone; vivid; bright: brilliant blues and greens; the brilliant sound of the trumpets.

  3. splendid or magnificent: a brilliant social event.

  1. Jewelry. a gem, especially a diamond, having any of several varieties of the brilliant cut.

  2. Printing. a size of type about 3½-point.

Origin of brilliant

First recorded in 1675–85; from French brillant “shining,” present participle of briller “to shine,” from Italian brillare, perhaps either ultimately from Latin bēryllus beryl or derivative of an expressive root

synonym study For brilliant

1. See bright.

Other words from brilliant

  • bril·liant·ly, adverb
  • bril·liant·ness, noun
  • o·ver·bril·liant, adjective
  • o·ver·bril·liant·ly, adverb
  • quasi-brilliant, adjective
  • qua·si-bril·liant·ly, adverb
  • un·bril·liant, adjective
  • un·bril·liant·ly, adverb
  • un·bril·liant·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use brilliant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for brilliant


/ (ˈbrɪljənt) /

  1. shining with light; sparkling

  2. (of a colour) having a high saturation and reflecting a considerable amount of light; vivid

  1. outstanding; exceptional: a brilliant success

  2. splendid; magnificent: a brilliant show

  3. of outstanding intelligence or intellect: a brilliant mind; a brilliant idea

  4. music

    • (of the tone of an instrument) having a large proportion of high harmonics above the fundamental

    • Also: brilliant (French brijɑ̃), brilliante (French brijɑ̃t) with spirit; lively

  1. Also called: brilliant cut

    • 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

    • a diamond of this cut

  2. (formerly) a size of a printer's type approximately equal to 4 point

Origin of brilliant

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

Derived forms of brilliant

  • brilliantly, adverb

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