Bookshelp header image for page World Wide Words logo

Bright

It’s a noun, not an adjective. If you say, “I’m bright”, that’s an immodest (and possibly inaccurate) statement. But “I’m a bright” says that you don’t believe in God, more strictly that your view of the world is naturalistic, free of what its inventors describe as “supernaturalism and mystical elements of all kinds”. The term has only recently been coined by Paul Giesert and Mynga Futrell, two educators from Sacramento, California. They modelled it on gay, to provide an umbrella term for a potential coalition of all those who felt themselves isolated and without political influence in the USA because they professed no religious belief. The philosopher Daniel Dennett has taken it up and publicised it in newspaper articles, from two of which the quotations below have been taken. Somehow, I don't think it's going to catch on.

Whether we brights are a minority or, as I am inclined to believe, a silent majority, our deepest convictions are increasingly dismissed, belittled and condemned by those in power — by politicians who go out of their way to invoke God and to stand, self-righteously preening, on what they call “the side of the angels.”

New York Times, 12 Jul. 2003

Look on the bright side: though at present they can’t admit it and get elected, the US Congress must be full of closet brights. As with gays, the more brights come out, the easier it will be for yet more brights to do so. People reluctant to use the word atheist might be happy to come out as a bright.

Guardian, 21 Jun. 2003

Share this page
Facebook Twitter StumbleUpon Google+ LinkedIn Email

Search World Wide Words

Support World Wide Words!

Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.


Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!

OTHER WAYS TO HELP

Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 26 Jul. 2003

Advice on copyright

The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-bri1.htm
Last modified: 26 July 2003.