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transitive verb

limned, limn′ing
  1. to paint or draw
  2. to portray in words; describe
  3. to outline or highlight
  4. Obs. to illuminate (manuscripts)

Origin of limn

Middle English limnen, contr. from luminen, for enluminen from Old French enluminer from Classical Latin illuminare, illuminate

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transitive verb

limned, limn·ing, limns
  1. To describe or depict by painting or drawing.
  2. To suffuse or highlight with light or color; illuminate: “There was just enough juice left in Merrill's flashlight to limn the outlines: A round lobe here. Another lobe over there” ( Hampton Sides )
  3. To describe or portray in words.

Origin of limn

Middle English limnen to illuminate (a manuscript) probably alteration ( influenced by limnour illustrator ) of luminen from Old French luminer from Latin lūmināre to illuminate, adorn from lūmen lūmin- light ; see leuk- in Indo-European roots.

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Related Forms:

  • limn′er



(third-person singular simple present limns, present participle limning, simple past and past participle limned)

  1. To draw or paint; delineate.
  2. To describe.
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Usage notes
  1. Particularly used in arts journalism; not understood by significant portion of American public.

Middle English luminem, limnen (“to illuminate (a manuscript)"), from Middle French enluminer, from Latin illÅ«minō (“I illuminate") (English illuminate), women's Townsend Townsend women's Eastland Townsend Eastland women's Townsend women's women's Townsend Eastland Eastland Eastland Eastland Townsend in + lÅ«minō (“light up"), from lÅ«men (“light"), from Proto-Indo-European *lewk- (English leam (“glow")).

  1. Alternative form of limno-.



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