Where or what is the limelight as opposed to the spotlight?
Frank Pierce
Limelight is a term from the late 19th/early twentieth century, describing a particular type of electric light used to produce lots of focused illumination. It was a type of arc lamp, with two calcium-lime electrodes held in close proximity of each other. When voltage was applied, a heavy arc of current was produced between them. Effective but dangerous. Such "limelights" were used in theaters before common incandescent "spotlight" lamps replaced them.

Thus an actor, and by extension, any celebrity, was said to be in the limelight.

It's a hold-over word.

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