Definition of luminary in US English:



  • 1A person who inspires or influences others, especially one prominent in a particular sphere.

    ‘one of the luminaries of child psychiatry’
    • ‘A voting Academy of up to 50 cricket luminaries - including present captains, match officials and former prominent players - is being established to vote on the individual awards.’
    • ‘He was followed by a number of good panels filled with various luminaries.’
    • ‘Politicians and legal luminaries rubbed shoulders with film stars and top scientists recently.’
    • ‘In short, we desire to participate in a truly ‘catholic’ reading of the text, even in those instances when that reading leads us to differ with past luminaries on certain theological issues’
    • ‘He won a fiercely dedicated following of young Chicano and Anglo organizers and the support of Hollywood celebrities, political luminaries, and social reformers.’
    • ‘The 60s saw the biggest names in rock history pass through its doors including such luminaries as the Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Jimi Hendix.’
    • ‘This is the sort of thing jazz luminaries do these days to make a living.’
    • ‘With a leadership vacuum within the committee, various luminaries have weighed in with their preferences.’
    • ‘This section is dedicated to luminaries, pioneers and individuals who have made significant contributions to the international art, science and technology community.’
    • ‘Indeed, a petition against the boycott idea has garnered thousands of signatures from intellectual luminaries here.’
    • ‘Audiences at two screenings in Los Angeles, packed with film industry luminaries, were equally receptive.’
    • ‘Analytical articles by legal luminaries will be a regular feature of the journal.’
    • ‘Since then, birding luminaries and legendary enthusiasts have sacrificed huge chunks of their lives to catch the merest glimpse of the wondrous woodpecker.’
    • ‘This is reflected in the work of almost all the leading luminaries of modern architecture who, starting with a total Western outlook, have later felt the need to look more closely and deeply at Indian thought and tradition.’
    • ‘By the time the Navy approached Albert Einstein and other prominent Princeton scientific luminaries for help in these matters, they had tried a number of methods to achieve their goal.’
    • ‘The retreat is a weekend of tutorials from leading business luminaries on entrepreneurship.’
    • ‘The Europeans seem to be relying on the doubts of certain American luminaries, while those luminaries rely on lack of support by the Europeans.’
    • ‘The event featured daily keynote addresses from industry luminaries and more than 60 technical seminars.’
    • ‘Those in the habit of bemoaning Montreal's supposedly dead art scene will be biting their tongues hard this summer as imported art stars, local luminaries and great talents invade our galleries, museums and green spaces.’
    leading light, guiding light, inspiration, leader, expert, master, panjandrum, dignitary, vip
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  • 2archaic A natural light-giving body, especially the sun or moon.

    • ‘The Moon's orb of around 12 degrees is also that which separates the luminaries when the new crescent Moon reappears after conjunction.’
    • ‘This closest of sky luminaries, a sphere as well as the Earth, casts its own shadows on its surface, tracing the shape that is then turned away from the sun.’
    • ‘There are 10 planets in Astrology, beginning with the Sun and the Moon, which are also known as luminaries.’
    • ‘Since the most productive of heat and warmth are Cancer and Leo, they assigned these to the greatest and most powerful heavenly bodies, the luminaries, as houses.’
    1. 2.1 An artificial light.
      • ‘Designed to simulate conditions just about anywhere on the planet, each height-adjustable light pole is equipped with three different kinds of highway luminaries.’
      • ‘We offer an exciting range of lighting and luminaries that have the ability to accentuate, to harmonize, to enhance, and to convey a mood.’


Late Middle English: from Old French luminarie or late Latin luminarium, from Latin lumen, lumin- ‘light’.