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From Late Middle English rutilaunt (shining with a gold or red colour),[1] from Latin rutilantem, accusative masculine or feminine singular of rutilāns (reddening) (or directly from the latter), an adjective use of the present participle of rutilō (to redden)[2] (from rutilus ((yellowish) red), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁rewdʰ- (red)) + -āns (suffix forming the present active participle of first conjugation verbs). The English word is cognate with Italian rutilante (literary), Portuguese rutilante, Spanish rutilante.[2]



rutilant (comparative more rutilant, superlative most rutilant)

  1. (literary or sciences, also figuratively) Shining or glowing with a red colour or light.
    Synonym: rutilous
    • 1599, [Thomas] Nashe, Nashes Lenten Stuffe, [], London: [] [Thomas Judson and Valentine Simmes] for N[icholas] L[ing] and C[uthbert] B[urby] [], OCLC 228714942, page 36:
      [S]tately Hyperion or the lordly ſonne, the moſt rutilant planet of the ſeuẽ, in Lent when Heralius herring enters into his chiefe reign and ſcepterdome, ſkippeth and danſeth[,] the goats iumpe on the earth for ioy of his entrance.
    • a. 1682, George Wharton; John Gadbury, compiler, “An Excellent Discourse of the Names, Genus, Species, Efficient and Final Causes of All Comets, &c.”, in The Works of that Late Most Excellent Philosopher and Astronomer, Sir George Wharton, Bar[onet]. [], London: [] H[enry] H[ills] for John Leigh, [], published 1683, OCLC 1127053363, pages 170–171:
      [T]he colour of a Comet ſignifies the Nature of the Ruling Planet. This was of a Fiery Red, but mixed with a dusky Silver colour, which made it look but dim in appearance, (unleſs in clear Nights before the Moon was up, for then it look'd more Rutilant:) and therefore it was likewiſe in this reſpect of the Nature of Mars and Mercury, [...]
    • 1707, “The Life of Estevanillo Gonzales, the Pleasantest and Most Diverting of All Comical Scoundrels”, in [Andrés Pérez de León (or Francisco López de Ubeda); Fernando de Rojas; Juan de Ávila]; John Stevens, transl., The Spanish Libertines: [], London: [] Samuel Bunchley, [], OCLC 931242706, chapter XIV, page 507:
      Thy Candour, which the Opticks Quondam drew, / And o'er the Viſible Ideas rang'd, / Was by the Gore of that Lewd Goddeſs chang'd / To Rutilant Purpureous Sanguin Hue.
    • 1813, “CHEMISTRY”, in John Mason Good, Olinthus Gregory, Newton Bosworth [et al.], editors, Pantologia. A New Cyclopædia, [], volume III (Cea–Czo), London: [] G. Kearsley; [], OCLC 11987875:
      Nitrous acid. It is nitric acid holding nitrous acid in solution, nearly absorbs its weight from it; then in a rutilant vapour more volatile than nitric acid.
    • 1897, Edmund Gosse, “The Age of Byron: 1815–1840”, in A Short History of Modern English Literature, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, OCLC 6270253, page 314:
      His [Percy Bysshe Shelley's] genius lay outside the general trend of our poetical evolution; he is exotic and unique, and such influence as he has had, apart from the effect on the pulse of the individual of the rutilant beauty of his strophes, has not been very advantageous.
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, Ulysses, London: The Egoist Press, published October 1922, OCLC 2297483, page 403:
      Mother's milk, Purefoy, the milk of human kin, milk too of those burgeoning stars overhead, rutilant in thin rainvapour, punch milk, such as those rioters will quaff in their guzzlingden, milk of madness, the honeymilk of Canaan's land.
    • 1956, A[bbott] J[oseph] Leibling, “Kearns by a Knockout”, in The Sweet Science, New York, N.Y.: North Point Press, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, published 2004, →ISBN, page 63:
      [Jack] Kearns is as rutilant a personality as [Joey] Maxim apparently isn't, and from many of the newspaper stories that appeared in the weeks leading up to the fight one would have thought that Kearns, not Maxim, was signed to fight [Sugar Ray] Robinson.
    • 1964, Anaïs Nin, Collages, Denver, Colo.: Alan Swallow, OCLC 820484621:
      She was now 16 and sending off her first radiations and vibrations dressed in Varda's own rutilant colors.
    • 1969, Vladimir Nabokov, chapter 11, in Ada, or, Ardor: A Family Chronicle, Harmondsworth, London: Penguin Books, published 1970, →ISBN, part 2, page 347:
      He had a round head as bare as a knee, a corpse's button nose, and very white, very limp, very damp hands adorned with rutilant gems.
    • 2000, Gerald Clarke, “Production No. 1060—The Wizard of Oz”, in Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland (A Delta Book), New York, N.Y.: Dell Publishing, published March 2001, →ISBN, page 111:
      In their absence, the rosy, rutilant glow of Stone Canyon Road was rendered bogus and counterfeit. Like the period houses that lined the stage streets on Metro's Lot 3, Judy [Garland]'s dream house was little more than a set, a beautiful façade, with nothing, nothing at all, behind it.

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  1. ^ rutilaunt, adj.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Compare “rutilant, adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2011; “rutilant, adj.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.





  1. third-person plural present active indicative of rutilō