Definitions

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

  • adj. Well known and very distinguished; eminent. See Synonyms at noted.
  • adj. Obsolete Shining brightly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. dignified

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Possessing luster or brightness; brilliant; luminous; splendid.
  • adj. Characterized by greatness, nobleness, etc.; eminent; conspicuous; distinguished.
  • adj. Conferring luster or honor; renowned.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Possessing luster or brilliancy; luminous; bright; shining.
  • Distinguished by greatness, genius, etc.; conspicuous; renowned; eminent: as, an illustrious general or magistrate; an illustrious prince or author.
  • Conferring luster or honor; brilliant; transcendent; glorious.
  • Synonyms and Distinguished, Eminent, etc. (see famous); remarkable, signal, exalted, noble, glorious.

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

  • adj. widely known and esteemed
  • adj. having or conferring glory

Etymologies

From Latin illūstris, from illūstrāre, to give glory to, shine upon; see illustrate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin illustris (prominent) (Wiktionary)

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