en·​light·​en·​ment | \ in-ˈlī-tᵊn-mənt How to pronounce enlightenment (audio) , en- \

Definition of enlightenment

1 : the act or means of enlightening : the state of being enlightened
2 capitalized : a philosophical movement of the 18th century marked by a rejection of traditional social, religious, and political ideas and an emphasis on rationalism used with the
3 Buddhism : a final blessed state marked by the absence of desire or suffering

Examples of enlightenment in a Sentence

the search for spiritual enlightenment His comments failed to provide enlightenment. the enlightenment of the public through education
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Recent Examples on the Web All of it is an extension of Smith’s vision — and now Wade’s — for how the Jazz should and can be run, how business should and can be done, how enlightenment should and can be shared. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Gordon Monson: Ryan Smith and Dwyane Wade is a match made in heaven — to the benefit of the Jazz and all of Utah," 16 Apr. 2021 This questionable theory posits that Westerners traveling to India seeking enlightenment may suffer a psychological break when their lofty expectations meet with overwhelming reality. Vulture Editors, Vulture, "This Week in True-Crime Podcasts: The Unsolved Case of the Doodler," 19 Mar. 2021 Suns are not only bright forces that evoke positivity -- the color yellow in many cultures symbolizes happiness, optimism and enlightenment -- the rays from the sun are literally good for us. Allison Hope, CNN, "Boost your happiness with that extra hour of daylight," 16 Mar. 2021 Muslim Sisterhood activities have since expanded to include workshops such as incense making, which has provided room for friendships to form but also for personal enlightenment to develop, too. Hudda Khaireh, Vogue, "Inside Muslim Sisterhood, the Art Collective Creating Spaces of Radical Joy," 8 Mar. 2021 Biden, the oldest person to be sworn in as president, bears the country forward on a path marked by his own failures, moments of enlightenment and political rebirth. Washington Post, "Biden the imperfect antiracist," 11 Jan. 2021 If anything can provide this degree of enlightenment over a few days, nature (as it’s shown us before) certainly can. Annie Davidson, Forbes, "A Hamptons Culinary Retreat Just In Time For Spring," 25 Feb. 2021 Freeman followed a similar path to DH enlightenment — especially after seeing all the run-producing opportunities he was afforded batting second in a Braves lineup that was stacked from top to bottom. Paul Newberry, ajc, "Column: With DH shelved, another year of hapless NL swings," 5 Mar. 2021 This modern phenomenon can leave us bound up in the thoughts and worries of an increasingly complex world and leave some of us, okay many of us, wondering how to find an exit, how to find peace, or what some call enlightenment. Joshua Dudley, Forbes, "Examining The Dangers Of Enlightenment In‘Astray’ Podcast From iHeartMedia," 4 Mar. 2021

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

1621, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for enlightenment

Time Traveler

The first known use of enlightenment was in 1621

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Statistics for enlightenment

Last Updated

22 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Enlightenment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enlightenment. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of enlightenment

: the state of having knowledge or understanding : the act of giving someone knowledge or understanding
: a movement of the 18th century that stressed the belief that science and logic give people more knowledge and understanding than tradition and religion
Buddhism : a final spiritual state marked by the absence of desire or suffering

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