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

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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 former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who was the face of Nike's 30th-anniversary campaign, enlightened the brand on the complicated history behind the 13-star flag featured on the shoe's heel. Channing Hargrove, refinery29.com, "Colin Kaepernick Told Nike To Pull A Betsey Ross Flag Shoe — & They Did," 2 July 2019 Fourth-quarter gross domestic product readings from the U.S., U.K., France and Canada could enlighten the debate over whether the global economy is in the midst of a temporary dip or headed toward a more serious downturn. ... Joe Wallace, WSJ, "Stock Market Rally Trips on Global Growth Fears," 24 Mar. 2019 Make a list of wedding traditions form around the world: donning henna in India, releasing doves like the Dutch, or wearing black in Spain, to name a few, and quiz and enlighten your guests with traditional wedding knowledge. Heather Hall, Harper's BAZAAR, "10 Bridal Shower Game Ideas You Won't Hate Playing," 5 June 2019 Nonfiction titles promise to enlighten and entertain with insects, punctuation, fashion, history, and man fasting (see below). John Timpane, https://www.inquirer.com, "Big summer books for 2019 by Mark Haddon, Elizabeth Gilbert, Colson Whitehead, Tan France," 5 June 2019 David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon Hanson enlightened me about the cost to many American communities of China’s rise. New York Times, "The Profound Social Cost of American Exceptionalism," 29 May 2018 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

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.

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First Known Use of enlighten

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

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Statistics for enlighten

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enlighten

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

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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

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Comments on enlighten

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