en·light·en·ing | \ in-ˈlīt-niŋ , -ˈlī-tᵊn-iŋ , en- \

Definition of enlightening 

: providing or tending to provide knowledge, understanding, or insight a very enlightening discussion … he takes readers on enlightening excursions through the nature of Judaism, Hegelian philosophy, wherever his curiosity heads. —George Johnson

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Other words from enlightening

enlighteningly adverb

Examples of enlightening in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter Love for His Mother The former president, at one point, turned his attention to his life and his parents, saying that his book, Dreams from My Father, was an enlightening experience for him. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "The Best Moments from David Letterman's Interview With Barack Obama on Netflix," 12 Jan. 2018 Thisvideo tour of Larch Wood Enterprises in Nova Scotia is a mesmerizing and enlightening look at the process. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The Surprisingly Complex Process of Turning a Tree Into an End-Grain Cutting Board," 11 Aug. 2015 Our mutual hypersensitivities might have yanked us away from enlightening, crucial — and fun — cultural detective work (close reading, unpacking, interpreting) and turned us into beat cops always on patrol, arresting anything that rankles. Wesley Morris, New York Times, "Who Gets to Decide What Belongs in the ‘Canon’?," 30 May 2018 Instead, the team went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., an obviously more enlightening experience. Otis R. Taylor Jr., SFChronicle.com, "Oakland journalist sees black culture shifting from music to sports," 25 June 2018 Thanks to our host Brad Rickman, editors Mara Balagtas and Sebastian Modak, and contributor Cassie Shortsleeve for a spirited and enlightening conversation. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Plastic in Our Oceans Is a Travel Problem, Too: Travelogue Podcast," 8 June 2018 And that's enlightening because in man and fruit fly alike, the basic workings of reward are not so different. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "Fruit flies help explain why a male orgasm matters," 19 Apr. 2018 Beyond enlightening, reading is inspiring and uplifting. The Aegis, "Read on, Harford [Editorial]," 20 June 2018 But that doesn't mean reading up on his Zodiac sign won't prove enlightening. refinery29.com, "Your Dad's Zodiac Sign, Explained," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enlightening.' 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 enlightening

1574, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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The first known use of enlightening was in 1574

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


a magnificent or impressive array

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