Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 9, 2021 is:

luminary • LOO-muh-nair-ee  • noun

1 : a person of prominence or brilliant achievement

2 : a body that gives light; especially : one of the celestial bodies


“[Lloyd] Richards, a luminary who, with the original production of A Raisin in the Sun, became the first Black director to stage a Broadway play, emphasized dramaturgy.” — Abigail Aguirre, Vogue, January 2021

“As we walked homeward across the fields, the sun dropped and lay like a great golden globe in the low west. While it hung there, the moon rose in the east, as big as a cart-wheel, pale silver and streaked with rose colour, thin as a bubble or a ghost-moon. For five, perhaps ten minutes, the two luminaries confronted each other across the level land, resting on opposite edges of the world.” — Willa Cather, My Antonia, 1918

Did you know?

Allow us to shed some light on luminary. It came to English by way of Anglo-French and Late Latin, and it traces back to the Latin word lumen, meaning “light.” Other lumen descendants in English include illuminate (“to light up”), luminous (“emitting light”) and phillumenist (“one who collects matchbooks or matchbox labels”). Luminary has been shining its light in English since the 15th century.

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