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 These days, Lewis aims to guide and enlighten others based on his experiences as a basketball star. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Gators sophomore Scottie Lewis driven to change world beyond basketball," 2 Sep. 2020 Dibble’s group also offers tours of public schools to politicians, clergy, and real estate agents to help enlighten new families’ first contacts. Livia Gershon, Longreads, "Public Education’s White Flight Problem," 2 June 2020 Kyle Rudolph said has helped enlighten its white teammates. Ben Goessling, Star Tribune, "Eric Kendricks leading Vikings in seeking social justice," 5 Aug. 2020 The Great Plains did for the American Midwest: write a vivid, nuanced, humorous portrait of a people and their homeland, that would appeal to a general readership and enlighten myself as much as my fellow Americans. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Snapshot of Canada: An Accidental Reading List," 29 May 2020 If the illumination did not enlighten the team owners, the increase in gate receipts did. Jeff Suess, Cincinnati.com, "MLB’s first night game held at Crosley Field 85 years ago," 22 May 2020 Designed first and foremost (but not exclusively) for classroom use, the game seeks to educate and enlighten players about deaf culture through collaborative play and discussion. Anthony Mcglynn, Ars Technica, "Breaking deaf stereotypes and normalizing sign language through gaming," 24 Apr. 2020 In the food and recipe collection, enlighten yourself with the history of pasta or get to know some of the world's best food trucks. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Lonely Planet Has Released 3 Free eBooks to Help You Channel Your Wanderlust Spirit at Home," 20 May 2020 While sidewalks may not provide the challenge of trails, rediscovering the treasures of my urban wilderness has been enlightening. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Avoiding hiking trails during coronavirus? Explore your neighborhood. It may surprise you," 9 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for enlighten

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for enlighten

Last Updated

9 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Enlighten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enlighten. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for enlighten


How to pronounce enlighten (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of enlighten

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


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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