Word of the Day Archive
Friday February 2, 2001
limn \LIM\ , transitive verb:
1. To depict by drawing or painting.
2. To portray in words; to describe.
Oh, yes, I write, as I limn the familiar perfections of his profile, "you look very well."
-- Kimberly Elkins, "What Is Visible", The Atlantic, March 2003
In telling these people's stories Mr. Butler draws upon the same gifts of empathy and insight, the same ability to limn an entire life in a couple of pages.
-- Michiko Kakutani, "Earthlings May Endanger Your Peaceful Rationality", New York Times, March 10, 2000
But used faithfully and correctly, language can "limn the actual, imagined and possible lives of its speakers, readers, writers."
-- John Darnton, "In Sweden, Proof of The Power Of Words", New York Times, December 8, 1993
Limn is from Middle English limnen, alteration of luminen, from enluminen, from Medieval French enluminer, from Late Latin illuminare, "to illuminate," ultimately from Latin lumen, "light."