[ ih-luhs-tree-uhs ]
/ ɪˈlʌs tri əs /
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See synonyms for: illustrious / illustriously / illustriousness on Thesaurus.com


highly distinguished; renowned; famous: an illustrious leader.
glorious, as deeds or works: many illustrious achievements.
Obsolete. luminous; bright.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of illustrious

1560–70; <Latin illustri(s) bright, clear, famous (equivalent to illustr(āre) to brighten (see il-1, luster1) + -is adj. suffix) + -ous

OTHER WORDS FROM illustrious

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for illustrious

British Dictionary definitions for illustrious

/ (ɪˈlʌstrɪəs) /


of great renown; famous and distinguished
glorious or greatillustrious deeds
obsolete shining

Derived forms of illustrious

illustriously, adverbillustriousness, noun

Word Origin for illustrious

C16: from Latin illustris bright, distinguished, famous, from illustrāre to make light; see illustrate
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