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[loo-muh-nuh s] /ˈlu mə nəs/
radiating or reflecting light; shining; bright.
lighted up or illuminated; well-lighted:
the luminous ballroom.
brilliant intellectually; enlightened or enlightening, as a writer or a writer's works:
a luminous concept; luminous prose.
clear; readily intelligible:
a concise, luminous report.
Origin of luminous
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin lūminōsus. See lumen, -ous
Related forms
luminously, adverb
luminousness, noun
nonluminous, adjective
nonluminously, adverb
nonluminousness, noun
self-luminous, adjective
semiluminous, adjective
semiluminously, adverb
semiluminousness, noun
unluminous, adjective
unluminously, adverb
unluminousness, noun
1. lucid, radiant, resplendent, brilliant. 3. bright, intelligent. 4. understandable, perspicuous, lucid.
1, 2. dark. 3. stupid. 4. obscure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for luminous
  • If any of the cells happen to be cancerous, the luminous molecules will stick to them.
  • Scientists refer to these phenomena as transient luminous events.
  • Tipped with a lure of luminous flesh this built-in rod baits prey close enough to be snatched.
  • But in fact planetary nebulae have nothing to do with planets-they are luminous clouds thrown off by dying stars.
  • Her openness about her struggles makes her every appearance on screen both grueling and luminous.
  • Probably more important is the sample mentioned here of the luminous and vivid explanation that makes the book such a success.
  • Historical details about their work on radioactivity are set among dreamy illustrations on luminous pages.
  • Every day of your life is a luminous moment and every sunshine, when the light fades away, is a magical quietness.
  • Brad stepped outside in the storm's lull, in the strangely luminous air, to see if he could spot any branches fallen on his lines.
  • Beings that were barely human manufactured and bought and sold things, and cities covered the continents with luminous color.
British Dictionary definitions for luminous


radiating or reflecting light; shining; glowing: luminous colours
(not in technical use) exhibiting luminescence: luminous paint
full of light; well-lit
(of a physical quantity in photometry) evaluated according to the visual sensation produced in an observer rather than by absolute energy measurements: luminous flux, luminous intensity Compare radiant
easily understood; lucid; clear
enlightening or wise
Derived Forms
luminously, adverb
luminousness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin lūminōsus full of light, 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 luminous

early 15c., "full of light," from Latin luminosus "shining, full of light," from lumen (genitive luminis) "light," related to lucere "to shine" (see light (n.)). Related: Luminously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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luminous in Medicine

luminous lu·mi·nous (lōō'mə-nəs)
Emitting light, especially emitting self-generated light.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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