[bril-yuh nt]
See more synonyms for brilliant on
  1. shining brightly; sparkling; glittering; lustrous: the brilliant lights of the city.
  2. distinguished; illustrious: a brilliant performance by a young pianist.
  3. having or showing great intelligence, talent, quality, etc.: a brilliant technician.
  4. strong and clear in tone; vivid; bright: brilliant blues and greens; the brilliant sound of the trumpets.
  5. 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

1675–85; < French brillant shining, present participle of briller < Italian brillare to glitter (perhaps derivative of an expressive root); see -ant
Related formsbril·liant·ly, adverbbril·liant·ness, nouno·ver·bril·liant, adjectiveo·ver·bril·liant·ly, adverbqua·si-bril·liant, adjectivequa·si-bril·liant·ly, adverbun·bril·liant, adjectiveun·bril·liant·ly, adverbun·bril·liant·ness, noun

Synonym study

1. See bright. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for brilliantly

cleverly, intelligently, blazingly, radiantly, knowledgeably

Examples from the Web for brilliantly

Contemporary Examples of brilliantly

Historical Examples of brilliantly

British Dictionary definitions for brilliantly


  1. shining with light; sparkling
  2. (of a colour) having a high saturation and reflecting a considerable amount of light; vivid
  3. outstanding; exceptionala brilliant success
  4. splendid; magnificenta brilliant show
  5. of outstanding intelligence or intellecta brilliant mind; a brilliant idea
  6. music
    1. (of the tone of an instrument) having a large proportion of high harmonics above the fundamental
    2. Also: brilliant (French brijɑ̃), brilliante (French brijɑ̃t)with spirit; lively
  1. 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
  2. (formerly) a size of a printer's type approximately equal to 4 point
Derived Formsbrilliantly, 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

Word Origin and History for brilliantly



1680s, from French brilliant "sparkling, shining" present participle of briller "to shine" (16c.), from Italian brillare "sparkle, whirl," perhaps from Vulgar Latin *berillare "to shine like a beryl," from berillus "beryl, precious stone," from Latin beryllus (see beryl). In reference to diamonds (1680s) it means a flat-topped cut invented 17c. by Venetian cutter Vincenzo Peruzzi.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper