• (GA) IPA: /ˈlʌstɚ/

luster (American spelling)

  1. Shine, polish or sparkle.
    ''He polished the brass doorknob to a high luster.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, Book V, Canto 11, Indianapolis: Hackett, 2006, p. 162,
      And over all the fields themselves did muster,
      With bils and glayves making a dreadfull luster;
      That forst at first those knights backe to retyre:
      As when the wrathfull Boreas doth bluster,
      Nought may abide the tempest of his yre,
      Both man and beast doe fly, and succour doe inquyre.
    • 1605/6, William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act III, Scene VII,
      First Servant: O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
      To see some mischief on him. O! [Dies.
      Cornwall: Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
      Where is thy lustre now?
      Gloucester: All dark and comfortless.
    • 1667, John Milton, ''Paradise Lost, Book IV, 846-850,
      […] abashed the devil stood,
      And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
      Virtue in her shape how lovely, saw, and pined
      His loss; but chiefly to find here observed
      His lustre visibly impaired; yet seemed
      Undaunted. […]
    • 1693, Joseph Addison, Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book III, The Story of Cadmus,
      The scorching sun was mounted high, / In all its lustre, to the noonday sky.
    • 1810, William Blake, ''Milton: A Poem in Two Books, Book I, 1-5
      Daughters of Beulah! Muses who inspire the Poet’s Song!
      Record the journey of immortal Milton through your realms
      Of terror & mild moony lustre, in soft sexual delusions
      Of varied beauty, to delight the wanderer and repose
      His burning thirst & freezing hunger! […]
    • 1914, James Joyce, "The Dead" in Dubliners, Penguin, 1996, p. 178
      Gabriel coloured as if he felt he had made a mistake and, without looking at her, kicked off his goloshes and flicked actively with his muffler at his patent-leather shoes. […] When he had flicked lustre into his shoes he stood up and pulled his waistcoat down more tightly on his plump body.
    • 1922, E. R. Eddison, ''The Worm Ouroboros, Chapter VIII,
      The canopy above the bed was a mosaic of tiny stones, jet, serpentine, dark hyacinth, black marble, bloodstone, and lapis lazuli, so confounded in a maze of altering hue and lustre that they might mock the palpitating sky of night.
    • 2001, James Wood, Introduction to Saul Bellow, Collected Stories, New York: Viking, p. xvii,
      Curiously enough, the stream of consciousness, for all its reputation as the great accelerator of description, actually slows down realism, asks it to dawdle over tiny remembrances, tiny details and lusters, to circle and return.
  2. By extension, brilliance, attractiveness or splendor.
    ''After so many years in the same field, the job had lost its luster.
    • 1895, The Gentleman's Magazine, Volume 279, p. 602,
      […] whose ancestors, says Clarendon, had been transported out of Normandy with the Conqueror, "and had continued," says Sir Henry Wotton, "about the space of four hundred years, rather without obscurity than with any great lustre […] ".
    • 1970, S.Y. Agnon, "Agunot" in Twenty-One Stories, New York: Schocken Books, p. 30,
      Their days of rest are wrested from them, their feasts are fasts, their lot is dust instead of luster.
    • 2006, Florence Tamagne, A History of Homosexuality in Europe, Volume I & II: Berlin, London, Paris, 1919-1939, New York: Algora, p. 87,
      The notion of two homosexuals living together more or less openly did not sit well with their neighbors, or even their friends, but Millthorpe took on a kind of symbolic luster as a kind of homosexual paradise.
  3. Refinement, polish or quality.
    He spoke with all the lustre a seasoned enthusiast should have.
    • 1836, Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Poetry: A Metrical Essay," in The Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes in Two Volumes: Volume I, Boston & New York, Houghton Mifflin, 1892, p. 37
      Thus err the many, who, entranced to find
      Unwonted lustre in some clearer mind,
      Believe that Genius sets the laws at naught
      Which chain the pinions of our wildest thought;
    • 1971, Cynthia Ozick, "The Butterfly and the Traffic Light" in Collected Stories, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006, p. 288,
      But Main, High, and Central have no past; rather, their past is now. It is not the fault of the inhabitants that nothing has gone before them. Nor are they to be condemned if they make their spinal streets conspicuous, and confer egregious lustre and false acclaim on Central, High, or Main, and erect minarets and marquees indeed as though their city were already in dream and fable.
  4. A candlestick, chandelier, girandole, etc. generally of an ornamental character.
    • 1735, Alexander Pope, "The First Satire of the Second Book of Horace Imitated," 45-48
      Each mortal has his pleasure: none deny
      Scarsdale his bottle, Darty his ham-pie;
      Ridotta sips and dances, till she see
      The doubling lustres dance as fast as she;
    • 1905, Thomas Mann, "The Blood of the Walsungs", translated by H.T. Lowe-Porter, in Death in Venice & Seven Other Stories, New York: Vintage, 1954 p. 294,
      The immense room was carpeted, the walls were covered with eighteenth-century panelling, and three electric lustres hung from the ceiling.
  5. A substance that imparts lustre to a surface, such as plumbago or a glaze.
    • 2009, Yuka Kadoi, Islamic Chinoiserie: The Art of Mongol Iran, Edinburgh University Press, p. 52,
      Chinese themes are equally recognisable in the star-shaped and hexagonal tiles with either moulded relief or lustre-painted decoration, sometimes surrounded by an inscription border […]
  6. Lusterware.
    • 1936, Freya Stark, The Southern Gates of Arabia: A Journey in the Hadhramaut, Boston: E.P. Dutton, Chapter XXIII, p. 253,
      The whole place was covered with fragments of pottery, mostly very rough, and difficult to identify as to date. Two small lustre shards belong to the ninth or tenth century and a green glaze resembles the output of the kilns found by Sir Aurel Stein on the coast of Makran.
  7. A fabric of wool and cotton with a lustrous surface, used for women's dresses.
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1943, Chapter IX, p. 143,
      Mrs. McLash was dressed for travelling. She wore a black lustre skirt that just exposed her broken button-boots […]
Antonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations Verb

luster (lusters, present participle lustering; past and past participle lustered) (American spelling)

  1. (intransitive) To gleam, have luster.
  2. (transitive) To give luster, distinguish.
  3. (transitive) To give a coating or other treatment to impart physical luster.
    • 1985, Nadine Gordimer, "Sins of the Third Age" in Something Out There, Penguin, p. 69,
      Peter and Mania found a pensione whose view was of chestnut woods and a horizon looped by peaks lustred with last winter's snow, distant in time as well as space.
Translations Translations
  • Spanish: lustrar

luster (plural lusters)

  1. A lustrum, quinquennium, a period of five years, originally the interval between Roman censuses.
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970 ↗, partition II, section 4, member 2, subsection ii:
      Mesue and some other Arabians began to reject and reprehend it; upon whose authority, for many following lusters, it was much debased and quite out of request […].
Related terms Noun

luster (plural lusters)

  1. One who lusts.
    • Bible, Paul
      Neither fornicators, nor those who serve idols, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor the lusters after mankind […] shall obtain the kingdom of God.

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