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luminary

[loo-muh-ner-ee]
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noun, plural lu·mi·nar·ies.
  1. a celestial body, as the sun or moon.
  2. a body, object, etc., that gives light.
  3. a person who has attained eminence in his or her field or is an inspiration to others: one of the luminaries in the field of medical science.
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adjective
  1. of, relating to, or characterized by light.
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Origin of luminary

1400–50; late Middle English luminarye < Medieval Latin lūmināria lamp. See luminaria
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for luminaries

luminary

noun plural -naries
  1. a person who enlightens or influences others
  2. a famous person
  3. literary something, such as the sun or moon, that gives off light
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adjective
  1. of, involving, or characterized by light or enlightenment
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Word Origin

C15: via Old French, from Latin lūmināre lamp, from lūmen light
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 luminaries

luminary

n.

mid-15c., "lamp, source of (artificial) light," from Old French luminarie (12c.), "lamp, lights, lighting; candles; brightness, illumination," from Late Latin luminare "light, torch, lamp, heavenly body," literally "that which gives light," from Latin lumen (genitive luminis) "light," related to lucere "to shine" (see light (n.)). Sense of "notable person" is first recorded 1690s, though the Middle English word also had a figurative sense of "source of spiritual light, example of holiness."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper