illustrious

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin illūstris (bright, shining; distinguished, prominent, illustrious) +‎ -ous (suffix forming adjectives from nouns, to denote possession or presence of a quality in any degree). Illūstris is derived from illūstrō (to brighten, illuminate; to make famous or illustrious), from in- (prefix meaning ‘in, inside’) + lustrō (to purify by making a sacrifice; to brighten, illuminate) (from lustrō (purificatory sacrifice), possibly ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *lewk- (bright; to shine) or *lewh₃- (to wash)).

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Adjective[edit]

illustrious (comparative more illustrious, superlative most illustrious)

  1. Admired, distinguished, respected, or well-known, especially due to past achievements or noble qualities. [from mid 16th c.]
    • 1712 January 2, Joseph Addison; Richard Steele, “SATURDAY, December 22, 1711 [Julian calendar]”, in The Spectator, number 255; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition [], volume III, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, 1853, OCLC 191120697, pages 127–128:
      A solid and substantial greatness of soul looks down, with a generous neglect, on the censures and applauses of the multitude, and places a man beyond the little noise and strife of tongues. Accordingly we find in ourselves a secret awe and veneration for the character of one who moves above us, in a regular and illustrious course of virtue, without any regard to our own good or ill opinions of him, to our reproaches or commendations.
    • 1843 December 19, Charles Dickens, “Stave Five. The End of It.”, in A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, London: Chapman & Hall, [], OCLC 55746801, page 154:
      Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs!
    • 1941, Ogden Nash, “The Ant”, in The Face is Familiar: The Selected Verse of Ogden Nash, reprint edition, Garden City, N.Y.: Garden City Publishing Company, OCLC 867002875, page 224:
      The ant has made himself illustrious / Through constant industry industrious. / So what? / Would you be calm and placid / If you were full of formic acid?
    • 2017 November 14, Phil McNulty, “England 0 – 0 Brazil”, in BBC Sport[1], archived from the original on 28 March 2018:
      [Marcus] Rashford showed the fearless streak [Gareth] Southgate so admires with his constant willingness to run at Brazil's defence with pace, even demonstrating on occasion footwork that would not have been out of place from members of England's illustrious opposition.

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