Word curio icon

Word Curio

November 16, 2019

Word of the Day: Luculent

2 CQ

Word of the Day : February 5, 2017

luculent \LOO-kyuh-lunt\ adjective


: clear in thought or expression


The professor gave a luculent introduction to quantum mechanics. 

"These glimpses of the Crown-Prince, reflected on us in this manner, are not very luculent to the reader … but some features do gleam forth, good and not so good; which, with others coming, may coalesce into something conceivable." — Thomas Carlyle, The History of Frederick II of Prussia, 1858–1865

Did You Know?

To shed light on the meaning of luculent, one need only look at its root—the Latin noun lux, meaning "light." The English word first appeared in the 15th century with the meaning "brilliant" or "shining," as in "a luculent flame." By the mid-16th century, the "clear in thought or expression" sense had begun to shine, and by that century's end another sense was flickering with the meaning "illustrious" or "resplendent," as in Ben Jonson's 1599 description of a "most debonair and luculent lady." Both the "illustrious" and the "emitting light" senses have fallen out of use, and even the "clear" sense is now rare. Today's writers seem to prefer another lux descendant with a similar meaning: lucid.

Aired February 5, 2017

All Merriam-Webster content is available at

  • Recommended Recommended
  • History & In Progress History
  • Browse Library
  • Most Popular Library

Get Personalized Recommendations

Let us help you figure out what to learn! By taking a short interview you’ll be able to specify your learning interests and goals, so we can recommend the perfect courses and lessons to try next.

Start Interview

You don't have any lessons in your history.
Just find something that looks interesting and start learning!

500 characters max
Aleksej W
I am definitely going to have to try to use this.
500 characters max
Jordan W
That was very luculent
500 characters max