[ ih-luhs-tree-uhs ]
/ ɪˈlʌs tri əs /


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

Nearby words

  1. illustrated,
  2. illustration,
  3. illustrational,
  4. illustrative,
  5. illustrator,
  6. illustriously,
  7. illuvial,
  8. illuviate,
  9. illuviation,
  10. illuvium

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

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for illustrious

British Dictionary definitions for illustrious


/ (ɪˈlʌstrɪəs) /


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

Word Origin and History for illustrious



1560s, from Latin illustris "lighted, bright, brilliant;" figuratively "distinguished, famous," probably a back-formation from illustrare "embellish, distinguish, make famous" (see illustration). Sometimes also illustrous. Replaced illustre in same sense (mid-15c.), from Middle French illustre.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper