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brilliant (adj.)

"sparkling with light or luster," 1680s, from French brilliant "sparkling, shining" present participle of briller "to shine" (16c.), from Italian brillare "sparkle, whirl," perhaps from Vulgar Latin *berillare "to shine like a beryl," from berillus "beryl, precious stone," from Latin beryllus (see beryl).

Figurative sense of "distinguished by admirable qualities" is from 1848. Of diamonds from 1680s in reference to a flat-topped cut invented 17c. by Venetian cutter Vincenzo Peruzzi. Related: Brilliantly; brilliantness.

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Definitions of brilliant

brilliant (adj.)
of surpassing excellence;
a brilliant performance
Synonyms: superb
brilliant (adj.)
having or marked by unusual and impressive intelligence;
a brilliant mind
a brilliant solution to the problem
Synonyms: brainy / smart as a whip
brilliant (adj.)
characterized by grandeur;
the brilliant court life at Versailles
brilliant (adj.)
having strong or striking color;
brilliant tapestries
Synonyms: bright / vivid
brilliant (adj.)
full of light; shining intensely;
brilliant chandeliers
a brilliant star
brilliant (adj.)
clear and sharp and ringing;
the brilliant sound of the trumpets
Synonyms: bright
From wordnet.princeton.edu