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English Idioms and Phrases: In the limelight

Updated on November 17, 2012


'In the limelight' means to be in the public eye or to be the 'centre of attention'.

'David Beckham is very famous, he's always in the limelight' This means that due to David Beckham's fame, he is always in the news and media.

The process of creating limelight, which is a very strong and powerful white light created from a chemical reaction, was adapted by Thomas Drummond in 1825 and was used as a light source. Its most famous application was for the stage in theatres allowing the actors to be seen by the audience.

Therefore it was said that if an actor was performing in the centre of the stage, or the centre of the audiences attention, he was in the limelight. Therefore it started to be used in it's current format of meaning someone at the centre of attention.

Alternatives or Synonyms

Centre of attention.


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