Share this entry

spotlight Syllabification: spot·light
Pronunciation: /ˈspätˌlīt/

Definition of spotlight in English:


1A lamp projecting a narrow, intense beam of light directly onto a place or person, especially a performer on stage.
Example sentences
  • When the stage is dimmed, spotlights are used to create a tight arc of light in which Roberts and Corbert perform.
  • For two evenings in December, Camelo was performed, with stage drapes and a spotlight, in the window of the New Museum before the holiday shoppers bustling up and down Broadway.
  • A new computerized light sculpture consisted of a bank of nine stage spotlights.
1.1A beam of light from a spotlight: the knife flashed in the spotlight
More example sentences
  • They part to reveal a man hanging upside down from a wall upstage, and a woman, standing in a spotlight down stage, reaching out to him.
  • The couple is now shown doing the same dance they introduced 45-odd years ago and it looks really embarrassing, particularly as they have to perform in a spotlight in front of some sort of silly logo.
  • Though she is speaking, Marlowe is in the spotlight.
1.2 (the spotlight) Intense scrutiny or public attention: she was constantly in the media spotlight
More example sentences
  • Instead of stepping out of the spotlight, she offers herself up for intensive scrutiny, delving into her own foibles and failures with astonishing candour.
  • It's rare to see many people share the spotlight together.
  • Both Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey have remained in the spotlight more for their personal problems than for their singing.
public eye, glare of publicity, limelight, center stage;
focus of public/media attention

verb (past and past participle spotlighted or spotlit-lit)

[with object] Back to top  
1Illuminate with a spotlight: the dancers are spotlighted from time to time throughout the evening
More example sentences
  • Pronto, stage left, a gent in impeccable evening attire, his face spotlit, appears.
  • One scene shot at night spotlights a cluster of ordinary folk near a stand of trees; from bare branches dangle two refrigerators, each suspended from a rope.
  • He wrapped the rotunda in a translucent scrim, thus transforming the ramp of Frank Lloyd Wright's building into a tunnel, within which the individual garments were dramatically spotlit.
1.1Direct attention to (a particular problem or situation): the protest spotlighted the overcrowding in federal prisons
More example sentences
  • This was the first of several films that Capra would make spotlighting the plight of the common man overcoming the deception and greed of the rich fat cats.
  • As one might expect, this collection spotlights the massive amount of work that took place before the cameras even began rolling.
  • The national fight to curtail factory hog operations and support sustainable approaches to pork production will be spotlighted at a national Hog Summit in mid-2003.
focus attention on, highlight, point up, draw/call attention to, give prominence to, throw into relief, turn the spotlight on, bring to the fore

Words that rhyme with spotlight

torchlight • lowlight

Definition of spotlight in:

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources