adj. bright·er, bright·est
a. Emitting or reflecting light readily or in large amounts; shining.
b. Comparatively high on the scale of brightness: bright red.
c. Full of light or illumination: a bright sunny day; a stage bright with spotlights.
2. Characterizing a dyestuff that produces a highly saturated color; brilliant.
3. Glorious; splendid: one of the bright stars of stage and screen; a bright moment in history.
4. Full of promise and hope; auspicious: had a bright future in publishing.
5. Happy; cheerful: bright faces.
6. Quick to learn or understand; intelligent.
7. High and clear: the bright sound of the trumpet section.
[Middle English, from Old English beorht; see bherəg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
bright, brightly adv.
Synonyms: bright, brilliant, radiant, lustrous, lambent, luminous, incandescent, effulgent
These adjectives refer to what emits or reflects light. Bright is the most general: bright sunshine; a bright white shirt.
Brilliant implies intense brightness and often suggests sparkling or gleaming light: brilliant floodlights; a brilliant gemstone.
Something radiant emits or seems to emit light in rays: a radiant sunrise; a table set with radiant crystal.
A lustrous object reflects an agreeable sheen: thick, lustrous hair.
Lambent applies to a soft, flickering light: "its tranquil streets, bathed in the lambent green of budding trees" (James C. McKinley).
Luminous especially refers to something that glows in the dark: a luminous watch dial.
Incandescent stresses burning brilliance: fireworks exploding in incandescent colors.
Effulgent suggests splendid radiance: "The crocus, the snowdrop, and the effulgent daffodil are considered bright harbingers of spring" (John Gould). See Also Synonyms at intelligent.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus