[ spot-lahyt ]
See synonyms for spotlight on
  1. a strong, focused light thrown upon a particular spot, as on a small area of a stage or in a television studio, for making some object, person, or group especially conspicuous.

  2. a lamp for producing such a light.

  1. a brilliant light with a focused beam, mounted on the side of an automobile and used for illuminating objects not within range of the headlights.

  2. the area of immediate or conspicuous public attention: Asia is in the spotlight now.

verb (used with object),spot·light·ed or spot·lit, spot·light·ing.
  1. to direct the beam of a spotlight upon; light with a spotlight.

  2. to make conspicuous; call attention to: Newspapers spotlighted the story for a week.

  1. to hunt (animals) using a spotlight in order to temporarily blind or confuse them.

verb (used without object),spot·light·ed or spot·lit, spot·light·ing.
  1. to hunt by using a spotlight.

Origin of spotlight

First recorded in 1910–15; spot + light1

Other words from spotlight

  • spotlighter, noun
  • un·spot·light·ed, adjective

Words Nearby spotlight Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use spotlight in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for spotlight


/ (ˈspɒtˌlaɪt) /

  1. a powerful light focused so as to illuminate a small area, usually mounted so that it can be directed at will

  2. the spotlight the focus of attention

verb-lights, -lighting, -lit or -lighted (tr)
  1. to direct a spotlight on

  2. 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

Other 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.