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brilliant Line breaks: bril|liant
Pronunciation: /ˈbrɪlj(ə)nt/

Definition of brilliant in English:


1(Of light or colour) very bright: brilliant sunshine illuminated the scene
More example sentences
  • Overheard the sun shone brightly, illuminating the garden with a brilliant ray of light.
  • He slowly opened his eyes and bright rays of brilliant light flashed into his eyes.
  • Something happened then, it was as if a brilliant ray of light shone down upon him.
bright, shining, blazing, dazzling, light;
literary irradiant, lucent, effulgent, refulgent, fulgent, lucid, glistering, coruscating, lambent, fulgurant, fulgurating, fulgurous
vivid, intense, bright, blazing, dazzling
2Exceptionally clever or talented: he was quite brilliant and was promoted almost at once the germ of a brilliant idea hit her
More example sentences
  • The young Lord Burlington was brilliant and precocious.
  • He was a wealthy young man, a brilliant battle commander, intelligent and witty.
  • We'll also be able to take advantage of some of Gotham's most brilliant magazine talent.
intelligent, bright, clever, smart, astute, acute, brainy, intellectual, profound;
skilful, able, expert, adept, elite, superior, crack, choice, first-class, first-rate, excellent;
educated, scholarly, learned, erudite, cerebral;
informal brainy, genius
North American informal whip-smart
2.1Outstanding; impressive: his brilliant career at Harvard
More example sentences
  • Franklin's career was brilliant from the very beginning.
  • His brief but brilliant career is resurfacing too.
  • We'll definitely keep an eye on your brilliant career!
superb, magnificent, splendid, impressive, remarkable, exceptional, glorious, illustrious
3British informal Excellent; marvellous: we had a brilliant time [as exclamation]: ‘Brilliant!’ he declared excitedly
More example sentences
  • You're just so brilliant and you're one of the coolest people ever.
  • He has a wonderful wife, a fantastic job and two brilliant children.
  • You are brilliant, a wonderful photographer, beautiful, and funny.
excellent, marvellous, superb, very good, first-rate, first-class, wonderful, outstanding, exceptional, magnificent, splendid, superlative, matchless, peerless
British informal brill, bosting
Australian/New Zealand informal bonzer
British informal, , dated spiffing, topping, top-hole, wizard


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A diamond of brilliant cut: an elegant necklace with four rows of brilliants
More example sentences
  • Our artist expands it into a bracelet and fastens it with a forget-me-not in turquoises and brilliants.
  • The headdress was an heirloom that mingled pearls with a few choice brilliants.
  • The following are all modified brilliants: marquise, heart, oval and pear shape.


Late 17th century: from French brillant 'shining', present participle of briller, from Italian brillare, probably from Latin beryllus (see beryl).

  • This is from French brillant ‘shining’ which is probably from Latin beryllus ‘beryl’. The abbreviation brill meaning ‘great, wonderful’ came into use in the 1980s.

Definition of brilliant in:
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