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[bril-yuh ns] /ˈbrɪl yəns/
great brightness; luster:
the brilliance of a fine diamond.
excellence or distinction; conspicuous talent, mental ability, etc.
splendor, elegance, or magnificence:
the brilliance of the court of Louis XIV.
Optics. that luminance of a body consisting of its saturation and brightness.
Origin of brilliance
1745-55; brilli(ant) + -ance
Related forms
overbrilliance, noun
1. radiance, effulgence, refulgence. 2. illustriousness, preeminence; genius.
1, 2. dullness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for brilliance
  • She could see the hidden life in things, their detailed brilliance, the funneled genius that went into making them what they are.
  • However, the brilliance of genius always keeps as many polar belief options in their library as possible.
  • He wrote with a great impression of ease, yet he obtained an effect of great brilliance and felicity.
  • Cunningly placed lights raise the whole elaborate show to the highest point of brilliance.
  • Indeed, the brilliance of his achievement served to discourage his warmest admirers.
  • There are certain lessons of brilliance and of generous gallantry that she can teach better than any of her sister nations.
  • Ma's technical brilliance and his insatiable curiosity about the entire range of musical experience quickly paid off.
  • It's only when they are cut and polished that they obtain the brilliance and luster that makes them so valued.
  • The drivers approach through a white-hot slab of brilliance that could burn diamonds.
  • Much of the radiation quasars emit is trapped inside their dusty shells, dimming their brilliance.
British Dictionary definitions for brilliance


great brightness; radiance
excellence or distinction in physical or mental ability; exceptional talent
splendour; magnificence: the brilliance of the royal court
(physics) a former term for luminance
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 brilliance

1755, from brilliant + -ance. Figurative sense (of wit, intelligence, etc.) is from 1779. Distinguished from brilliancy in that the latter usually is applied to things measurable in degrees.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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