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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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1. Brilliancy; splendor; brightness; glitter. The right mark and very true luster of the diamond. (Sir t. More) The scorching sun was mounted high, in all its luster, to the noonday sky. (Addison)

there is a tendency to limit the use of luster, in this sense, to the brightness of things which do not shine with their own light, or at least do not blaze or glow with heat. One speaks of the luster of a diamond, or of silk, or even of the stars, but not often now of the luster of the sun, a coal of fire, or the like.

2. Renown; splendor; distinction; glory. His ancestors continued about four hundred years, rather without obscurity than with any great luster. (Sir H. Wotton)

3. A candlestick, chandelier, girandole, or the like, generally of an ornamental character.

4. (Science: chemical) The appearance of the surface of a mineral as affected by, or dependent upon, peculiarities of its reflecting qualities.

The principal kinds of luster recognised are: metallic, adamantine, vitreous, resinous, greasy, pearly, and silky. With respect to intensity, luster is characterised as splendent, shining, glistening, glimmering, and dull.

5. A substance which imparts luster to a surface, as plumbago and some of the glazes.

6. A fabric of wool and cotton with a lustrous surface, used for women's dresses. Luster ware, earthenware decorated 62a

by applying to the glazing metallic oxides, which acquire brilliancy in the process of baking.

Origin: f. Lustre; cf. It. Lustro; both fr. L. Lustrare to purify, go about (like the priests at the lustral sacrifice), traverse, survey, illuminate, fr. Lustrum a purificatory sacrifice; perh. Akin to E. Loose. But lustrare to illuminate is perh. A different word, and akin to L. Lucere to be light or clear, to shine. See lucid, and cf. Illustrious, lustrum.