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[lahym-lahyt] /ˈlaɪmˌlaɪt/
  1. (formerly) a lighting unit for spotlighting the front of the stage, producing illumination by means of a flame of mixed gases directed at a cylinder of lime and having a special lens for concentrating the light in a strong beam.
  2. the light so produced.
  3. Chiefly British. a lighting unit, especially a spotlight.
the center of public attention, interest, observation, or notoriety:
He seems fond of the limelight.
Origin of limelight
1820-30; lime1 + light1
Related forms
limelighter, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for limelight


the limelight, a position of public attention or notice (esp in the phrase in the limelight)
  1. a type of lamp, formerly used in stage lighting, in which light is produced by heating lime to white heat
  2. Also called calcium light. brilliant white light produced in this way
Derived Forms
limelighter, noun
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 limelight

1826, popular name for Drummond light, a brilliant light created by the incandescence of lime (n.1); adopted for lighthouses and later for the Victorian stage, where it illuminated the principal actors, hence the figurative sense of "on stage, at the center of attention" (1877).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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