AskDefine | Define brightness

Dictionary Definition



1 the location of a visual perception along the black-to-white continuum [ant: dullness]
2 intelligence as manifested in being quick and witty [syn: cleverness, smartness]
3 the quality of being luminous; emitting or reflecting light; "its luminosity is measured relative to that of our sun" [syn: luminosity, brightness level, luminance, luminousness, light]

User Contributed Dictionary





  1. the quality of being bright
  2. the perception elicited by the luminance of an object
  3. intelligence, cleverness


the quality of being bright
the perception elicited by the luminance of an object
intelligence, cleverness

Extensive Definition

Brightness (also called effulgence) is an attribute of visual perception in which a source appears to emit a given amount of light. In other words, brightness is the perception elicited by the luminance of a visual target. This is a subjective attribute/property of an object being observed.


"Brightness" was formerly used as a synonym for the photometric term luminance and (incorrectly) for the radiometric term radiance. As defined by the US Federal Glossary of Telecommunication Terms (FS-1037C), "brightness" should now be used only for non-quantitative references to physiological sensations and perceptions of light.
A given target luminance can elicit different perceptions of brightness in different contexts; see, for example, White's illusion and Wertheimer-Benary illusion.
In the RGB color space, brightness can be thought of as the arithmetic mean μ of the Red, Green, and Blue color coordinates (although some of the three components make the light seem brighter than others, which, again, may be compensated by some display systems automatically):
\mu =
Brightness is also a color coordinate in the HSB or HSV color space (hue, saturation, and brightness or value).
With regard to stars, brightness is quantified as apparent magnitude and absolute magnitude.

Brightness of sounds

The term "brightness" is also used in discussions of sound timbres, in a rough analogy with visual brightness. Timbre researchers consider brightness to be one of the perceptually strongest distinctions between sounds, and formalize it acoustically as an indication of the amount of high-frequency content in a sound, using a measure such as the spectral centroid.


External links

brightness in Bulgarian: Яркост
brightness in German: Helligkeit
brightness in Korean: 명도
brightness in Italian: Luminosità (teoria dei colori)
brightness in Hungarian: Világosság
brightness in Portuguese: Brilhância
brightness in Thai: ความสว่าง
brightness in Vietnamese: Độ trắng
brightness in Chinese: 明度

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Munsell chroma, Technicolor, acuity, acuteness, adroitness, agility, alertness, aptitude, aptness, attention, attentiveness, auspiciousness, beneficence, benevolence, benignancy, benignity, blare, blaze, blazing light, blinding light, blitheness, blithesomeness, braininess, bright color, bright light, bright side, brilliance, brilliancy, brilliant light, burst of light, cheer, cheerfulness, cheeriness, cheery vein, chroma, chromatic color, chromaticity, clear thinking, cleverness, color, color quality, colorfulness, colorimetric quality, cool color, dazzling light, dexterity, docility, educability, effulgence, esprit, eupeptic mien, facility, fair weather, favorableness, flair, flamboyance, flood of light, fortunateness, fulgor, gaiety, geniality, genius, giftedness, gifts, gladness, gladsomeness, glamour, glare, glaring light, gloriousness, glory, good auspices, good cheer, good omen, gorgeousness, happiness, heavenliness, hopefulness, hue, impressionability, intelligence, intensity, keen-wittedness, keenness, lightness, luckiness, luster, malleability, mental alertness, mercurial mind, moldability, motivation, native cleverness, neutral color, nimble mind, nimble-wittedness, nimbleness, nous, optimism, plasticity, pleasantness, pliability, promptitude, promptness, propitiousness, prosperousness, punctuality, pure color, purity, quick parts, quick thinking, quick wit, quick-wittedness, quickness, radiance, radiancy, radiant splendor, ravishingness, readiness, ready wit, receptivity, refulgence, refulgency, resplendence, resplendency, richness, rosy expectation, sanguine humor, sanguineness, saturation, savvy, sharp-wittedness, sharpness, sleeplessness, smartness, smarts, splendidness, splendor, splendorousness, splendrousness, sprightly wit, streaming light, sublimity, sunniness, sunny side, susceptibility, talent, teachability, teachableness, tint, tone, trainableness, value, vividness, wakefulness, warm color, willingness, winsomeness
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