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[loo-muh-ner-ee] /ˈlu məˌnɛr i/
noun, plural luminaries.
a celestial body, as the sun or moon.
a body, object, etc., that gives light.
a person who has attained eminence in his or her field or is an inspiration to others:
one of the luminaries in the field of medical science.
of, relating to, or characterized by light.
Origin of luminary
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English luminarye < Medieval Latin lūmināria lamp. See luminaria Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for luminary
  • Nobody ought to be called a luminary until they've been set on fire.
  • Actually the neutrinos merely took a trans-dimensional path which made it appear super luminary.
  • Freddy, a luminary in the music business, lit up our lives and put a song in our hearts.
  • The significant thing about an airport is where it is, not what faded old pol or other local luminary it's named after.
  • Over the years, she was not the only luminary to avoid the original, creaky elevator.
  • Technically, in fact, naming a street so quickly after a dead luminary violates city laws.
  • Families of fallen firefighters will light luminary candles for each firefighter.
  • Spitz is a luminary in molecular epidemiology and is internationally noted for her work on tobacco-related cancers.
  • Consider removing the inner two lamps in four-lamp fluorescent fixtures and/or in every other luminary in the row.
British Dictionary definitions for luminary


noun (pl) -naries
a person who enlightens or influences others
a famous person
(literary) something, such as the sun or moon, that gives off light
of, involving, or characterized by light or enlightenment
Word Origin
C15: via Old French, from Latin lūmināre lamp, from lūmen light
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
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Word Origin and History for luminary

mid-15c., "lamp, source of (artificial) light," from Old French luminarie (12c.), "lamp, lights, lighting; candles; brightness, illumination," from Late Latin luminare "light, torch, lamp, heavenly body," literally "that which gives light," from Latin lumen (genitive luminis) "light," related to lucere "to shine" (see light (n.)). Sense of "notable person" is first recorded 1690s, though the Middle English word also had a figurative sense of "source of spiritual light, example of holiness."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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