Definition of spotlight in US English:



  • 1A lamp projecting a narrow, intense beam of light directly on to a place or person, especially a performer on stage.

    • ‘Even better, as you walk through the aisles, spotlights flash on the stuff that you usually buy and on the stuff that's on sale.’
    • ‘It's a shame that the promoter didn't see fit to supply the stage crew with a spotlight because every time any member of the band dared to step to the front of the stage they disappeared into darkness.’
    • ‘A new computerized light sculpture consisted of a bank of nine stage spotlights.’
    • ‘There was hardly enough light from the stage, where spotlights illuminated the still drawn, dusty curtains somewhat half-heartedly.’
    • ‘Situated in one of gallery rooms off the central space, it is a majestically quiet work, offset by a spotlight, which projects its shadow onto the wall.’
    • ‘When the stage is dimmed, spotlights are used to create a tight arc of light in which Roberts and Corbert perform.’
    • ‘For two evenings in December, Camelo was performed, with stage drapes and a spotlight, in the window of the New Museum before the holiday shoppers bustling up and down Broadway.’
    • ‘The theater also contains a full fly tower and is outfitted with a control suite, catwalks, spotlights, and an orchestra pit.’
    • ‘As stated above, there's not much to look at during the show and the spotlights often add an unflattering hue to Chris.’
    • ‘One intriguing aspect of this work is the drawing effect Stone achieves with spotlights and projections, using light as a carrier for color.’
    • ‘The spotlight on the dim stage illuminates Amanda as she talks to a woman from her D.A.R. group.’
    1. 1.1 A beam of light from a spotlight.
      ‘the knife flashed in the spotlight’
      • ‘The couple is now shown doing the same dance they introduced 45-odd years ago and it looks really embarrassing, particularly as they have to perform in a spotlight in front of some sort of silly logo.’
      • ‘Though she is speaking, Marlowe is in the spotlight.’
      • ‘They part to reveal a man hanging upside down from a wall upstage, and a woman, standing in a spotlight down stage, reaching out to him.’
      • ‘These pieces depict dark shadowy spaces cut by vertical passages of warm, smoky glare revealing backstage equipment or showing the stark reflections of spotlights on empty stages.’
      • ‘Jonathan Miller once identified the most exciting moment in musical theatre as that when the lights dim, the conductor lifts his baton in the spotlight and the orchestral noise rises from beneath the stage.’
    2. 1.2the spotlight Intense scrutiny or public attention.
      ‘she was constantly in the media spotlight’
      • ‘The actress first gained the international spotlight for her work in the superb Raise the Red Lantern, in which she played an innocent preyed upon by older, more cunning women.’
      • ‘There isn't any significant change from Season One; the cameras still follow the couple around as they balance their careers, families, and personal lives in the media spotlight.’
      • ‘It's rare to see many people share the spotlight together.’
      • ‘How do you feel that it took a remake of one of your films to put you back into the spotlight?’
      • ‘There was no spotlight like that in Hollywood for her.’
      • ‘He simply wants to be on stage and in the spotlight, hip-hopping his way to stardom and never-ending nourishment.’
      • ‘Instead of stepping out of the spotlight, she offers herself up for intensive scrutiny, delving into her own foibles and failures with astonishing candour.’
      • ‘By shifting storylines from week to week, Homicide gave African American actors, writers, and guest directors freedom to move in and out of the spotlight.’
      • ‘Yet, while Cumming and Leigh don't hog the spotlight, in the end, their work is what we remember.’
      • ‘Always a pleasure to watch, they allow the young cast their moments in the spotlight, and Kelly Reilly in particular shines.’
      • ‘Before Night Falls, ironically, was the film that helped to catapult Bardem into the American spotlight.’
      • ‘She would appear to be back in the glare of the Hollywood spotlight after years in the movie-making wilderness.’
      • ‘Most notably is his ability to let other actors have the spotlight.’
      • ‘Many of the films in the international spotlight of the 1990s displayed interest in travelling groups or migrants.’
      • ‘She wanted to let me know that ‘at least one person still remembers you long after you have faded from the spotlight.’’
      • ‘Underrated for most of his career, this role will allow him to take his turn in the spotlight.’
      • ‘In this volatile period, tough-guy anti-heroes, populist salt-of-the-earth protagonists, and debonair dandy heroes shared the spotlight.’
      • ‘Both Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey have remained in the spotlight more for their personal problems than for their singing.’
      • ‘As is always the case when a film contains an abnormal character, the actor portraying him takes the spotlight.’
      the public eye, the glare of publicity, the limelight
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[with object]
  • 1Illuminate with a spotlight.

    ‘the dancers are spotlighted from time to time throughout the evening’
    • ‘Pronto, stage left, a gent in impeccable evening attire, his face spotlit, appears.’
    • ‘An aging woman in a glistening green off-the-shoulder gown is spotlighted from the front.’
    • ‘One scene shot at night spotlights a cluster of ordinary folk near a stand of trees; from bare branches dangle two refrigerators, each suspended from a rope.’
    • ‘The works are spotlighted against dark walls, which both evokes nineteenth-century rooms and makes it easier to study the often small and extraordinarily detailed imagery.’
    • ‘He wrapped the rotunda in a translucent scrim, thus transforming the ramp of Frank Lloyd Wright's building into a tunnel, within which the individual garments were dramatically spotlit.’
    1. 1.1 Direct attention to (a particular problem or situation)
      ‘the protest spotlighted the overcrowding in federal prisons’
      • ‘This article spotlights some of the information on the site, delving into the three main topics we're focusing on during our current media campaign: financial vulnerability, job creation, and innovation.’
      • ‘Tensions between poultry producers and growers were spotlighted four years ago when one disgruntled East Texas farmer took matters into his own hands.’
      • ‘The film gives us found footage spotlighting U.S. atrocities across the globe.’
      • ‘While its focus to date has been primarily on transaction-based functions, a survey of more than 320 Chief Executive readers spotlights an emerging trend toward the use of outsourcing for more strategic functions.’
      • ‘This issue and the April 11 issue of CropWatch will spotlight corn production and pest management.’
      • ‘As one might expect, this collection spotlights the massive amount of work that took place before the cameras even began rolling.’
      • ‘Most people know about Vietnam because of images of war, but this exhibition spotlights its cultural identity.’
      • ‘The national fight to curtail factory hog operations and support sustainable approaches to pork production will be spotlighted at a national Hog Summit in mid-2003.’
      • ‘This was the first of several films that Capra would make spotlighting the plight of the common man overcoming the deception and greed of the rich fat cats.’
      focus attention on, highlight, point up, call attention to, draw attention to, foreground, accentuate, accent, make conspicuous, underline, underscore, give prominence to, throw into relief, turn the spotlight on, bring to the fore, bring home
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