Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Effulgence

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is effulgence. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Effulgence means “radiant splendor” or “brilliance.”

// The state capitol’s golden dome shone with brilliant effulgence in the late afternoon light.


“His oil portrait silently observed us. His brother Robert who painted it didn’t go for the obvious choice and recreate Dad’s life-of-the-party effulgence, but instead captured his pensive look, as if he’s listening intensely to what you are asking, and he may or may not answer you.” — Jamie Brickhouse, The Huffington Post, 21 June 2022

Did You Know?

Need a shiny word to bust out at your next disco party, planetarium visit, or fireworks gathering? How about effulgence? It’s not a shiny “new” word, having made its English language debut in the 17th century, but it does come from the Latin verb fulgēre, meaning “to shine.” Effulgence isn’t used for bog-standard brightness, however; it’s reserved for shininess that dazzles, inspires, leaves you gobsmacked—in other words, “radiant splendor.”

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