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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  3. 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
Related formsspot·light·er, nounun·spot·light·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spotlighting

Contemporary Examples of spotlighting

British Dictionary definitions for spotlighting


  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

Word Origin and History for spotlighting



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 spotlighting


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.