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

  • n. A ceremonial purification of the entire ancient Roman population after the census every five years.
  • n. A period of five years.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A lustration or ceremonial purification of all the ancient Roman people, performed every five years, after the taking of the census.
  • n. A period of five years.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A lustration or purification, especially the purification of the whole Roman people, which was made by the censors once in five years.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A lustration or purification; particularly, the ceremonial purification of the whole Roman people, performed at the end of every five years.
  • n. Hence A space of five years.

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

  • n. a period of five years
  • n. a ceremonial purification of the Roman population every five years following the census


Latin lūstrum; see luster.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin lustrum ("period of five years"). (Wiktionary)


  • Does the Latin word "lustrum" mean a bright light, a century, or a period of five years?

    June 2007

  • These were the twenty-sixth pair of censors since the first, the lustrum was the nineteenth.

    The History of Rome, Vol. II

  • And with this in mind, and in the renewed hope that I may live long enough to see the task through, I shall now relate the extraordinary story of Cicero’s year in office as consul of the Roman republic and what befell him in the four years afterward—a span of time we mortals call a lustrum, but which to the gods is no more than the blinking of an eye.


  • The census, commenced the previous year, was completed, and the "lustrum," which was then closed, is stated to have been the tenth since the beginning of the City.

    The History of Rome, Vol. I

  • In that year the census was taken, and owing to the seizure of the Capitol and the death of the consul, the "lustrum" was closed on religious grounds.

    The History of Rome, Vol. I

  • Then the census was made and the "lustrum" closed by Quinctius.

    The History of Rome, Vol. I

  • Yes, except that he will hold his province for an entire lustrum, while you will have to give up yours by the end of the year.


  • Now, a decade and a lustrum later, Keller's novella of entymology, penology, psychology, and mystery has been put between hardcovers for fresh judgement.

    Antiquarian Weird Tales: New Era Publishers

  • At the present lustrum of your life you are, and should be, supremely indifferent to your ancestors.

    Genealogy: It's Not For the Living

  • [5175] Cujus octavum trepidavit aetas, cernere lustrum; to say they are younger than they are.

    Anatomy of Melancholy


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  • Lustrum may also denote a combination of four years or divisions (OED).

    June 23, 2012