verb (used with object), spot·light·ed or spot·lit, spot·light·ing.

verb (used without object), spot·light·ed or spot·lit, spot·light·ing.

to hunt by using a spotlight.

Origin of spotlight

First recorded in 1910–15; spot + light1
Related formsspot·light·er, nounun·spot·light·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spotlight

Contemporary Examples of spotlight

Historical Examples of spotlight

  • They had a spotlight on one of the cars which they kept moving in wide circles.

  • She was standing in a spotlight, Forrester thought at first.

    Pagan Passions

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • The Swami made a determined effort to recapture the spotlight.

    Sense from Thought Divide

    Mark Irvin Clifton

  • To go down at this point was simply to spotlight his presence for any Throg on his trail.

    Storm Over Warlock

    Andre Norton

  • At least, it would put Frank Corson, unknown intern, into the spotlight for a while.

    Ten From Infinity

    Paul W. Fairman

British Dictionary definitions for spotlight



a powerful light focused so as to illuminate a small area, usually mounted so that it can be directed at will
the spotlight the focus of attention

verb -lights, -lighting, -lit or -lighted (tr)

to direct a spotlight on
to focus attention on
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 spotlight

1904, from spot (n.) + light (n.). Originally a theatrical equipment; figurative sense is attested from 1916. The verb is first recorded 1923.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with spotlight


see in the limelight (spotlight); steal the show (spotlight).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.