from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Great brilliance, as of performance or achievement.
  • noun Conspicuous success.
  • noun Great acclamation or applause.
  • noun Archaic Notoriety; scandal.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A burst, as of applause; acclamation; approbation: as, his speech was received with great éclat.
  • noun Brilliant effect; brilliancy of success; splendor; magnificence: as, the éclat of a great achievement.
  • noun Renown; glory.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A brilliant or successful effect; brilliance of success or effort; splendor; brilliant show; striking effect; glory; renown.


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

[French, brilliance, from Old French esclat, splinter, from esclater, to burst out, splinter, probably of Germanic origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French, from éclater ("to burst out"), from Middle French esclater ("to break, break violently"), from Old French esclater ("to separate from, sunder out") (deverbal also in Old French: esclat), from Frankish *slaitan (“to split, break”), from Proto-Germanic *slaitijanan, causative of Proto-Germanic *slītanan (“to cut up, split”). Akin to Old High German sleizan ("to tear"), Old English slītan ("to split"). More at slice, slit.


    Sorry, no example sentences found.


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  • The best known usage is probably from from Thoreau's Walden (pg 21), but I don't see how I can add another example.

    July 23, 2010

  • Cite it here the same way you made your comment.

    July 23, 2010

  • (I started thumbing through my copy for it, but Google’s faster.)

    “Bankruptcy and repudiation are the spring-boards from which much of our civilization vaults and turns its somersets, but the savage stands on the unelastic plank of famine. Yet the Middlesex Cattle Show goes off here with éclat annually, as if all the joints of the agricultural machine were suent.”

                    — Henry David Thoreau. “Economy”. Walden. 1854.

    September 24, 2011