Definition of limn in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /lim/


[with object] literary
1Depict or describe in painting or words.
Example sentences
  • Beasts, vipers and monsters descend upon a mildmannered-looking man, likely a self-portrait, while a giant, sinuous snake, limned by several wavy lines of paint, hovers overhead.
  • Here the main event is limned large on the picture plane.
  • It is LeWitt's world, of course, but in its vast accumulation of specifics, it somehow limns the general, and the resulting work could be a composite view of the life of any artist in the late 20th century.
describe, portray, depict, illustrate
1.1Suffuse or highlight (something) with a bright color or light: a crescent moon limned each shred with white gold
More example sentences
  • The shining ship swam serenely through the upper atmosphere, light limning its skin in shafts of golden brilliance as they sailed towards the barriers ahead, proud and uncaring.
  • Unlike most of the nebulas that populate the universe, these clouds are limned by arcs or tings and bathed in the blue light emitted by helium ions.
  • The curves of her body are limned in the half-dark by light reflected from the room's reddish carpet.
highlight, adorn, embellish, paint, illuminate, suffuse


Late Middle English (in the sense 'illuminate a manuscript'): alteration of obsolete lumine 'illuminate', via Old French luminer from Latin luminare 'make light'.

Words that rhyme with limn

bedim, brim, crim, dim, glim, grim, Grimm, gym, him, hymn, Jim, Kim, limb, nim, prim, scrim, shim, Sim, skim, slim, swim, Tim, trim, vim, whim

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: limn

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.