1. the state or quality of shining by reflecting light; glitter, sparkle, sheen, or gloss: the luster of satin.
  2. a substance, as a coating or polish, used to impart sheen or gloss.
  3. radiant or luminous brightness; brilliance; radiance.
  4. radiance of beauty, excellence, merit, distinction, or glory: achievements that add luster to one's name.
  5. a shining object, especially one used for decoration, as a cut-glass pendant or ornament.
  6. a chandelier, candleholder, etc., ornamented with cut-glass pendants.
  7. any natural or synthetic fabric with a lustrous finish.
  8. Also called metallic luster. an iridescent metallic film produced on the surface of a ceramic glaze.
  9. Mineralogy. the nature of a mineral surface with respect to its reflective qualities: greasy luster.
verb (used with object)
  1. to finish (fur, cloth, pottery, etc.) with a luster or gloss.
verb (used without object)
  1. to be or become lustrous.
Also especially British, lus·tre.

Origin of luster

1515–25; < Middle French lustre < Italian lustro, derivative of lustrare to polish, purify < Latin lūstrāre to purify ceremonially, derivative of lūstrum lustrum
Related formslus·ter·less, adjective

Synonyms for luster

1. See polish.

Antonyms for luster


Also especially British, lus·tre.

Origin of luster

1375–1425; late Middle English lustre < Latin lūstrum. See lustrum Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lustre

Historical Examples of lustre

  • She thought only of him; she adored him in the lustre of his legendary nobility.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Her cheeks were glowing and the lustre of her eyes was like the sparkle of the stars.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • This was about the consistency of oil, and had the lustre he desired.

  • At this moment, they gleamed with a lustre almost demoniacal.

    The Destroyer

    Burton Egbert Stevenson

  • It robbed her eyes of their brightness, her face of its colour, her hair of its lustre.

    The Wild Geese

    Stanley John Weyman

British Dictionary definitions for lustre


US luster

  1. reflected light; sheen; gloss
  2. radiance or brilliance of light
  3. great splendour of accomplishment, beauty, etc
  4. a substance used to polish or put a gloss on a surface
  5. a vase or chandelier from which hang cut-glass drops
  6. a drop-shaped piece of cut glass or crystal used as a decoration on a chandelier, vase, etc
    1. a shiny metallic surface on some pottery and porcelain
    2. (as modifier)lustre decoration
  7. mineralogy the way in which light is reflected from the surface of a mineral. It is one of the properties by which minerals are defined
  1. to make, be, or become lustrous
Derived Formslustreless or US lusterless, adjectivelustrous, adjective

Word Origin for lustre

C16: from Old French, from Old Italian lustro, from Latin lustrāre to make bright; related to lustrum
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 lustre

"gloss, radiance;" see luster (n.1).



"gloss, radiance," 1520s, from Middle French lustre "gloss, radiance" (14c.), common Romanic (cf. Spanish and Portuguese lustre, Rumanian lustru, Italian lustro "splendor, brilliancy"), from Latin lustrare "spread light over, brighten, illumine," related to lucere "shine," lux "light" (see light (n.)).



"one who lusts," 1590s, agent noun from lust (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lustre in Science


  1. The shine from the surface of a mineral. Luster is important in describing different kinds of minerals. It is usually characterized as metallic, glassy, pearly, or dull.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.