enlighten

verb
en·​light·​en | \ in-ˈlī-tᵊn How to pronounce enlighten (audio) , en-\
enlightened; enlightening\ in-​ˈlīt-​niŋ How to pronounce enlightening (audio) , -​ˈlī-​tᵊn-​iŋ , en-​ \

Definition of enlighten

transitive verb

1a : to furnish knowledge to : instruct enlightened us about the problem
b : to give spiritual insight to
2 archaic : illuminate

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of enlighten in a Sentence

I don't understand what's going on; can someone please enlighten me? the lecturer at the planetarium enlightened us about the latest astronomical discoveries

Recent Examples on the Web

The goal is to enlighten the newcomer while providing a novel twist that will please the expert. Parul Sehgal, New York Times, "Essays That Make Sense of the Infinite and the Infinitesimal," 15 May 2018 Shown in a black venue her black clothes were enlightened by towering white wigs (à la Marie Antoinette) and slashes of skin that were visible through the geometric cuts of the garments. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Vogue Runway Did a Ten-Year Fashion Challenge: Check Out the Results Here," 30 Jan. 2019 Enter Gabriel Held, Instagram’s most celebrated vintage dealer and fashion historian who has taken his already-enlightening feed and amped it up with a very special, very resolution-worthy hashtag. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Let Gabriel Held’s #unsungsherooffashion Be Your 2019 Style Touchstone," 7 Jan. 2019 There are two ways that most people first hear the Audio-Technica name: either in association with Technics turntables or via a pushy friend or YouTuber enlightening them about the M50x headphones. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Audio-Technica M50xBT review: better beats," 12 Nov. 2018 Spending two weeks on an Antarctic cruise learning about climate change must have been enlightening. Lale Arikoglu, Condé Nast Traveler, "Innovators: How Indré Rockefeller, Co-Founder of Paravel, Made Luggage Romantic Again," 19 Sep. 2018 Oh, anyway, next, Professor Gutfeld, our buddy, enlightens us on claims that liberals are causing the decay of U.S. cities. Fox News, "President Trump puts NATO on notice," 12 July 2018 Is the debate about dividing people or enlightening them? John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Does black Chicago feel jilted by Rahm's Mayor Zorro act?," 25 Apr. 2018 Her loss is profound, but then so is her legacy of entertaining, enlightening and moving Chicagoans of all ages and walks of life. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Leading Chicago director Rachel Rockwell is dead at 49," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enlighten.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of enlighten

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about enlighten

Statistics for enlighten

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enlighten

The first known use of enlighten was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for enlighten

enlighten

verb

English Language Learners Definition of enlighten

: to give knowledge or understanding to (someone) : to explain something to (someone)

enlighten

verb
en·​light·​en | \ in-ˈlī-tᵊn How to pronounce enlighten (audio) \
enlightened; enlightening

Kids Definition of enlighten

: to give knowledge or understanding to “Where is she now? Will someone please enlighten me?”— Brian Jacques, Redwall

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on enlighten

What made you want to look up enlighten? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!