Shine vs Brilliant - What's the difference?

shine | brilliant |

As nouns the difference between shine and brilliant

is that shine is brightness from a source of light while brilliant is a finely cut gemstone, especially a diamond, having many facets.

As a verb shine

is to emit light or shine can be to cause (something) to shine; put a shine on (something); polish (something).

As an adjective brilliant is

shining brightly.



Etymology 1

From (etyl) shinen, schinen (preterite schon, past participle schinen), from (etyl) . Cognate with West Frisian skine, skyne, Low German schienen, Dutch schijnen, German scheinen, Danish skinne, Swedish skina. In Middle English the most standard forms are[]: * present: sh?nen * simple past: (singular) sh?ne'', (plural) ''sh?neden * past participle: sh?ned The form sh?ned(e)'' had already appeared as an alternative past singular at this time, although only in Northern English usage. There is no recorded use of ''sh?ne as an alternative past participle in Middle English.


  • To emit light.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1963, author=(Margery Allingham), title=(The China Governess)
  • , chapter=20 citation , passage=‘No. I only opened the door a foot and put my head in. The street lamps shine into that room. I could see him. He was all right. Sleeping like a great grampus. Poor, poor chap.’}}
  • To reflect light.
  • To distinguish oneself; to excel.
  • * 1867 , Frederick William Robinson, No Man's Friend , Harper & Brothers, page 91:
  • “ I was grateful to you for giving him a year’s schooling—where he shined' at it—and for putting him as a clerk in your counting-house, where he ' shined still more.”
  • * '>citation
  • It prompted an exchange of substitutions as Jermain Defoe replaced Palacios and Javier Hernandez came on for Berbatov, who had failed to shine against his former club.
  • To be effulgent in splendour or beauty.
  • * Spenser
  • So proud she shined in her princely state.
  • * Alexander Pope
  • Once brightest shined this child of heat and air.
  • To be eminent, conspicuous, or distinguished; to exhibit brilliant intellectual powers.
  • * Jonathan Swift
  • Few are qualified to shine in company; but it in most men's power to be agreeable.
  • To be immediately apparent.
  • To create light with (a flashlight, lamp, torch, or similar).
  • * 2007 , David Lynn Goleman, Legend: An Event Group Thriller , St. Martin’s Press (2008), ISBN 978-0-312-94595-7, page 318:
  • As Jenks shined the large spotlight on the water, he saw a few bubbles and four long wakes leading away from an expanding circle of blood.
  • To cause to shine, as a light.
  • * (Francis Bacon)
  • He [God] doth not rain wealth, nor shine honour and virtues, upon men equally.
  • (US) To make bright; to cause to shine by reflected light.
  • (Bartlett)
    * (to emit light) beam, glow, radiate * (to reflect light) gleam, glint, glisten, glitter, reflect * (to distinguish oneself) excel * (to make smooth and shiny by rubbing) wax, buff, polish, furbish, burnish
    Coordinate terms
    * (to emit light) beam, flash, glare, glimmer, shimmer, twinkle
    Derived terms
    * beshine * rise and shine * take a shine to


  • Brightness from a source of light.
  • * Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • the distant shine of the celestial city
  • Brightness from reflected light.
  • Excellence in quality or appearance.
  • Shoeshine.
  • Sunshine.
  • * Dryden
  • be it fair or foul, or rain or shine
  • (slang) Moonshine.
  • (cricket) The amount of shininess on a cricket ball, or on each side of the ball.
  • (slang) A liking for a person; a fancy.
  • She's certainly taken a shine to you.
  • (archaic, slang) A caper; an antic; a row.
  • Synonyms
    * (brightness from a source of light) effulgence, radiance, radiancy, refulgence, refulgency * (brightness from reflected light) luster * (excellence in quality or appearance) brilliance, splendor * (shoeshine) See shoeshine * (sunshine) See sunshine * See moonshine
    Derived terms
    * come rain or shine * fireshine * shimmer * shiner * shininess * shiny * spitshine

    Etymology 2

    From the noun (shine), or perhaps continuing (etyl) schinen (preterite schinede, past participle schined), from (etyl) .


  • To cause (something) to shine; put a shine on (something); polish (something).
  • He shined my shoes until they were polished smooth and gleaming.
  • (cricket) To polish a cricket ball using saliva and one’s clothing.
  • Synonyms
    * (to polish) polish, smooth, smoothen




    (en adjective)
  • Shining brightly.
  • the brilliant lights along the promenade
  • (of a colour) Both bright and saturated.
  • butterflies with brilliant blue wings
  • (of a voice or sound) having a sharp, clear tone
  • Of surpassing excellence.
  • The actor's performance in the play was simply brilliant .
  • Magnificent or wonderful.
  • Highly intelligent.
  • She is a brilliant scientist.


    * (shining brightly) glittering, shining * * * (surpassing excellence) excellent, distinctive, striking, superb (obsolete except in UK usage) * (magnificent or wonderful) exceptional, glorious, magnificent, marvellous/marvelous, splendid, wonderful (obsolete except in UK usage) * (highly intelligent) brainy, ingenious * See also


    (en noun)
  • A finely cut gemstone, especially a diamond, having many facets.
  • * Alexander Pope
  • This snuffbox — on the hinge see brilliants shine.
  • * 1891 , Arthur Conan Doyle, A Case of Identity
  • “And the ring?” I asked, glancing at a remarkable brilliant which sparkled upon his finger.
  • (printing) A small size of type.
  • A kind of cotton goods, figured on the weaving.