Is there a concise list somewhere of terms used to describe a range of "brightness" or "luminosity"? Say from dim to blinding as an example. I tried Googling it and searching Wikipedia, but all I got were thesaurus and mathematical definitions.

The closest I've found is the luminosity charts for stars, but unfortunately they don't have word designations for each range.

  • The degree of light is described by its level of illumination, or "the luminous flux per unit area on an intercepting surface at any given point." Units of measure are, variously, lux, lumen, phot, and foot candle. What range is associated with what adjective is completely subjective. Even if there were lists somewhere, they would be arbitrary and far from authoritative. (What is considered blinding to someone may not be considered blinding to someone else. And different contexts will determine different adjectives.) Dec 15 '18 at 4:49
  • It might be wirth having a look at [light reflectance values] (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_reflectance_value), but I'm afraid no words here. Dec 15 '18 at 21:54

First, let me illustrate how hard this is:

I started by searching for adjectives describing light in the Oxford Historical Thesaurus. It is a powerful tool that categorizes words by functions and lists their synonyms. Because lightness and darkness are often treated as separate qualities, the words are listed under two different headers:

the world > matter > light > intensity of light > [adjective] (91)

the world > matter > light > darkness or absence of light > dimness or absence of brightness > [adjective] (65)

Word lists will tend towards the same flaw. This list? Or this one? It's mostly words describing light. It's hard to organize these into strict ranges, since there will be a lot of overlap between entries. (You try describing the difference between "sparkling" and "coruscating.")

This list from RhymeZone is better, since the second half of the entries cover levels of brightness as well as dimness. It isn't in order of brightness, but it's a start.

  • Something else to add to my list of unhelpful/inaccurate lists!
    – miltonaut
    Dec 14 '18 at 20:39

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