Definition of brilliant adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈbrɪliənt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbrɪliənt//
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  1. 1  extremely clever or impressive What a brilliant idea! a brilliant performance/invention See related entries: Clever
  2. 2  very successful a brilliant career The play was a brilliant success.
  3. 3  very intelligent or skilful a brilliant young scientist She has one of the most brilliant minds in the country. Synonymsintelligentsmart clever brilliant brightThese words all describe people who are good at learning, understanding and thinking about things, and the actions that show this ability.intelligent good at learning, understanding and thinking in a logical way about things; showing this ability: He’s a highly intelligent man.She asked a lot of intelligent questions.smart (especially North American English) quick at learning and understanding things; showing the ability to make good business or personal decisions: She’s smarter than her brother.That was a smart career move.clever (sometimes disapproving, especially British English) quick at learning and understanding things; showing this ability: How clever of you to work it out!He’s too clever by half, if you ask me. People use clever in the phrase : Clever boy/​girl! to tell a young child that they have learnt or done something well. When used to or about an adult clever can be disapproving.brilliant extremely intelligent or skilful: He’s a brilliant young scientist.bright intelligent; quick to learn: She’s probably the brightest student in the class. Bright is used especially to talk about young people. Common collocations of bright include girl, boy, kid, student, pupil.Patterns clever/​brilliant at something a(n) intelligent/​smart/​clever/​brilliant/​bright child/​boy/​girl/​man/​woman a(n) intelligent/​smart/​clever/​brilliant thing to do
  4. 4  (of light or colours) very bright brilliant sunshine brilliant blue eyes Synonymsbrightbrilliant vivid vibrantThese words all describe things that are shining or full of light or colours that are strong and easy to see.bright full of light; shining strongly; (of colours) strong and easy to see:a bright yellow dressbrilliant very bright:The sky was a brilliant blue.vivid (approving) (of colours) bright and strong:His eyes were a vivid green.vibrant (approving) (of colours) bright and strong:The room was decorated in vibrant blues and greens.vivid or vibrant? These two words are very similar, but vivid emphasizes how bright a colour is, while vibrant suggests a more lively and exciting colour or combination of colours.Patterns bright/​brilliant/​vivid/​vibrant colours bright/​brilliant light/​sunlight/​sunshine/​eyes
  5. 5  (British English, informal) very good; excellent ‘How was it?’ ‘Brilliant!’ Thanks. You've been brilliant (= very helpful). Synonymsgreatcool fantastic fabulous terrific brilliant awesome epicThese are all informal words that describe somebody/​something that is very good, pleasant, enjoyable, etc.great (informal) very good; giving a lot of pleasure:We had a great time in Madrid.cool (informal) used to show that you admire or approve of something, often because it is fashionable, attractive or different:I think their new song’s really cool.fantastic (informal) extremely good; giving a lot of pleasure:‘How was your holiday?’ ‘Fantastic!’fabulous (informal) extremely good:Jane’s a fabulous cook. (Fabulous is slightly more old-fashioned than the other words in this set.)terrific (informal) extremely good; wonderful:She’s doing a terrific job.brilliant (British English, informal), extremely good; wonderful:‘How was the show?’ ‘Brilliant!’awesome (informal, especially North American English) very good, impressive, or enjoyable:The show was just awesome.epic (informal) very good, impressive or enjoyable:The adventure and action are truly epic in scope.Patterns to have a(n) great/​cool/​fantastic/​fabulous/​terrific/​brilliant/​awesome time to look/​sound great/​cool/​fantastic/​fabulous/​terrific/​brilliant/​awesome really great/​cool/​fantastic/​fabulous/​terrific/​brilliant/​awesome absolutely great/​fantastic/​fabulous/​terrific/​brilliant/​awesome/​epic
  6. Word Originlate 17th cent.: from French brillant ‘shining’, present participle of briller, from Italian brillare, probably from Latin beryllus from Greek bērullos.Extra examples He’s brilliant at football. Her performance was technically brilliant but lacked feeling. Her performance was truly brilliant. Winning that race was just brilliant. an absolutely brilliant idea ‘How was the show?’ ‘Brilliant!’ He scored a brilliant goal a minute before the whistle blew. He’s a brilliant young scientist. Thanks. You’ve been brilliant. The sky was a brilliant blue. This is a brilliant and fascinating piece of writing.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: brilliant