leading light


noun

  1. an important or influential person: a leading light of the community.

noun

  1. an important or outstanding person, esp in an organization or cause
  2. nautical a less common term for range light

An important or influential individual, as in Jim was a leading light in his community. This expression, alluding to moral guidance, dates from about 1870, but terms such as a shining light have been used for an outstanding person since the first half of the 1500s.

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