Definition of luminous in US English:



  • 1Full of or shedding light; bright or shining, especially in the dark.

    ‘the luminous dial on his watch’
    ‘a luminous glow’
    figurative ‘her eyes were luminous with joy’
    • ‘The surface material reflected the light and they became luminous.’
    • ‘At the end one sees brilliant light or a luminous figure.’
    • ‘Set in a tightly wound labyrinth, this is where the film's insights about human endeavour are finally brought to light under a luminous moon.’
    • ‘Overhead, the eternal sky glowed with its luminous clouds.’
    • ‘The dimly-lit interior is done up with turntables and the odd futuristic light sculpture, while the bar has a luminous glow that offsets the dim and sexy darkness to the rest of the space.’
    • ‘Dozens of people have repeatedly reported the presence of these odd luminous objects.’
    • ‘Her eyes seemed almost to be glowing red from the luminous flames.’
    • ‘Its luminous, yet soothing lights shined in the dark murky skies like a beacon of heaven.’
    • ‘In New York State luminous objects were seen hovering over 3 very significant locations.’
    • ‘My computer screen leaves a luminous blue glow over the dark room.’
    • ‘She reached out with her hand to touch the white, luminous object.’
    • ‘In the center of the field there glowed a luminous fairy circle, where a ring of small greenish gnomelike creatures danced and sang squeakily.’
    • ‘The sea rolls before us, luminous waves break on the shore, and the moon shines down white from a dark sky.’
    • ‘Regulars are drawn to the minimalist style and trendy DJ music and we particularly liked the groovy light bulbs that give the bar counter a glorious luminous glow.’
    • ‘But the image is luminous, like something radiant seen through the fog.’
    • ‘A cheap, luminous dial or illuminated watch with large numbers is quite handy.’
    • ‘The moon was full, and gave off a luminous blue glow.’
    • ‘The luminous sun shone brightly over a small cottage in the middle of a long forest as it was setting down.’
    • ‘In its interaction with light, it heats up in a luminous glow, giving it life and vibrant personality.’
    • ‘The building was dark, the pews a deep red, and the stained glass windows luminous as the sun shined through them.’
    shining, bright, brilliant, radiant, dazzling, glowing, gleaming, coruscating, scintillating, lustrous, luminescent, phosphorescent, incandescent
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    1. 1.1 (of a color) very bright; harsh to the eye.
      ‘he wore luminous green socks’
      • ‘The luminous green wallpaper in the bathroom looked even brighter as the sun streamed into the room.’
      • ‘The darkness surrendered to light, midnight blue giving way to resplendent golds and luminous pinks.’
      • ‘Today, that destination is a world peopled with clowns, gymnasts, panthers, snakes, men and women, young and old, in brilliant reds and greens and luminous yellows.’
      • ‘They have wide faces, broad bills and luminous olive green and yellow plumage.’
      • ‘The sky was bright, luminous blue this evening, exactly the same colour as the Tibetan poppies.’
      • ‘It was very common for older people - and not only youngsters - to wear such extreme colours as luminous orange, perhaps to celebrate the freedom of life after retirement.’
      • ‘The red box it came in stands out on the shelf; the cover typography is distinctive and the spiral-bound book itself, with its luminous green pages, is a visual treat.’
      • ‘She suggested that site notices be issued in a luminous colour to make them more visible.’
      • ‘In her luminous green and red jacket, she was easy to spot.’
      • ‘I donned a luminous green observer's jacket and watched in awe as the victim was delicately secured and taken away.’
      • ‘The backdrop of sky passes through the entire color spectrum in seamless gradation from violet and indigo above through queasy green and luminous gold to a deep, luscious red below.’
      • ‘The police in their luminous yellow jackets stood guard at the interface of two cultures.’
      • ‘The distinctive ambulance is a luminous yellow colour and conforms to new EU regulations for ambulance services across Europe.’
      • ‘Asiatic lilies make up for having little or no scent with the beauty of their huge upturned flowers in luminous colours.’
      • ‘It's impossible to see in reproduction, but the sides of this canvas have been painted luminous orange on the left and bottom and luminous green on the right and top.’
      • ‘I remember loving the luminous rich colours, 1920's feel and the lovely slightly melancholic mood it has.’
      • ‘On my return to my room with a view after our gig, the Falls and spray were floodlit in luminous greens and pinks.’
      • ‘In this exhibition, the dominant color was the luminous green of the leafy vines that spread over many of his canvases, sometimes obscuring nearly everything else.’
      • ‘The monochrome pieces are composed of layers that reveal luminous colours, while his use of oranges and yellows create some of the most evocative landscapes of Ireland in recent years.’
      • ‘Her colours are luminous, with multiple layers of pigment, painted quickly but with great care and attention.’
      vivid, striking, intense, brilliant, bright, strong, rich, deep, warm, full
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    2. 1.2Physics Relating to light as it is perceived by the eye, rather than in terms of its actual energy.
      • ‘First, a technical point, Lux is a measure of illuminance, or luminous fLux per unit area, and so the corresponding quantity would be irradiance, or Watts per square meter.’
      • ‘Geminga might be one of the best understood isolated neutron stars that we have found, but it has the same luminous flux as a candle on the Moon, which means that it will test these new telescopes to the limit.’
      • ‘Recent advances in technology have made production of luminous radiation that is perceived by the human eye as white light and that can replace conventional light sources.’
      • ‘Our theory might predict that the most massive galaxies are the most luminous.’
      • ‘That leaves 2.9% who actually know what luminous intensity means.’


Late Middle English: from Old French lumineux or Latin luminosus, from lumen, lumin- ‘light’.