Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Full of light; shining. See Synonyms at bright.
  • adj. Relating to or being a hue that has a combination of high lightness and strong saturation.
  • adj. Sharp and clear in tone.
  • adj. Glorious; magnificent: the brilliant court life at Versailles.
  • adj. Superb; wonderful: The soloist gave a brilliant performance.
  • adj. Marked by unusual and impressive intellectual acuteness: a brilliant mind; a brilliant solution to the problem. See Synonyms at intelligent.
  • n. A precious gem, especially a diamond, finely cut in any of various forms with numerous facets.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Shining brightly.
  • adj. Both bright and saturated.
  • adj. having a sharp, clear tone
  • adj. Of surpassing excellence.
  • adj. Magnificent or wonderful.
  • adj. Highly intelligent.
  • n. A finely cut gemstone, especially a diamond, having many facets.
  • n. A small size of type.
  • n. A kind of cotton goods, figured on the weaving.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Sparkling with luster; glittering; very bright.
  • adj. Distinguished by qualities which excite admiration; splendid; shining.
  • adj. Exceedingly intelligent, or of distinguished accomplishment in a field; -- .
  • n. A diamond or other gem of the finest cut, formed into faces and facets, so as to reflect and refract the light, by which it is rendered more brilliant. It has at the middle, or top, a principal face, called the table, which is surrounded by a number of sloping facets forming a bizet; below, it has a small face or collet, parallel to the table, connected with the girdle by a pavilion of elongated facets. It is thus distinguished from the rose diamond, which is entirely covered with facets on the surface, and is flat below.
  • n. The smallest size of type used in England printing.
  • n. A kind of cotton goods, figured on the weaving.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Sparkling with light or luster; glittering; bright: as, a brilliant gem; a brilliant dress.
  • Figuratively, distinguished by admirable qualities; splendid; shining: as, a brilliant wit; a brilliant achievement.
  • Synonyms Lustrous, radiant, effulgent, resplendent, showy, conspicuous.
  • Illustrious, notable.
  • n. [Cf. F. brillant, a diamond.] The form in which the diamond and other precious stones are cut when intended to be used as ornaments, whenever the shape and cleavage of the uncut stone allow this to be done without too much loss of material.
  • n. The smallest regular size of printing-type, about 20 lines to the inch, very rarely used.
  • n. This line is set in brilliant.
  • n. In the manège, a brisk, high-spirited horse, with stately action.
  • n. A bright light used in fireworks.
  • n. A cotton fabric with a raised pattern figured in the loom, and with or without a design in colors.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of surpassing excellence
  • adj. characterized by grandeur
  • adj. clear and sharp and ringing
  • adj. having or marked by unusual and impressive intelligence
  • adj. having striking color
  • adj. full of light; shining intensely

Etymologies

French brillant, present participle of briller, to shine, from Italian brillare, perhaps from brillo, beryl, from Latin bēryllus; see beryl.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French brillant, from Medieval Latin as if *berilare ("to sparkle like a beryl or other precious stone"), from Latin berillus, beryllus ("a beryl, gem, eyeglass"), from Ancient Greek βήρυλλος (bērullos, "beryl"). (Wiktionary)

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