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

  • transitive v. To describe.
  • transitive v. To depict by painting or drawing. See Synonyms at represent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To draw or paint; delineate.
  • v. To describe.
  • v. To illuminate, as a manuscript.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To draw or paint; especially, to represent in an artistic way with pencil or brush.
  • transitive v. To picture in words; to describe in graphic terms.
  • transitive v. To illumine, as books or parchments, with ornamental figures, letters, or borders.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To represent by painting or drawing; depict; delineate; hence, to describe vividly or minutely.
  • To practise drawing or painting, especially in water-colors.

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

  • v. make a portrait of
  • v. trace the shape of


Middle English limnen, to illuminate (a manuscript), probably alteration (influenced by limnour, illustrator) of luminen, from Old French luminer, from Latin lūmināre, to illuminate, adorn, from lūmen, lūmin-, light.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English luminem, limnen ("to illuminate (a manuscript)"), from Middle French enluminer, from Latin illūminō ("I illuminate") (English illuminate), in + lūminō ("light up"), from lūmen ("light"), from Proto-Indo-European *lewk- (English leam ("glow")). (Wiktionary)



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  • the coltish girl was beautifully limned

    November 6, 2009

  • "Of course, these seven words aren’t the only ones overworked by book reviewers. After all, I haven’t even mentioned limn."

    The New York Times, Seven Deadly Words of Book Reviewing, by Bob Harris, March 25, 2008

    July 28, 2008

  • "Sweetly are the secrets told-
    Wrapt in crystal, limned in gold."
    ~Sharon Shinn

    March 3, 2008