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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for luminaries
  • The fund was heavily oversubscribed and attracted money from several other tech luminaries.
  • Other luminaries will add their thoughts over the coming days.
  • These luminaries inevitably encouraged each other to produce ever more wonderful ideas about this emerging technology.
  • And sometimes they pay homage to the renowned example of the luminaries in the room.
  • The exhibition consists of leftovers-playbills and postcards, along with more personal items contributed by downtown luminaries.
  • The charity holds an annual fund-raiser at which investment luminaries give advice on specific shares.
  • Install luminaries on mast arm poles where overhead clearances meet or exceed utility company requirements.
British Dictionary definitions for luminaries


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 luminaries



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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