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

Elodie’s father long due enlightenment triggers the last shock of the series: Elodie decides to run away with older musician Sabine (Katrina Cunningham) with Moe and Tabitha’s help. Ariana Brockington, refinery29.com, "Elodie's Dad's Reaction To Her Shoplifting On Trinkets Is A Problem," 15 June 2019 Across the ages, people have traveled to the farthest reaches of the world in search of solace and enlightenment. National Geographic, "Discover 22 of Europe’s most sacred sites," 10 May 2019 Smith argues that if a businessperson pursues enlightened self-interest—an enlightenment that includes thinking long-term, thriftiness, and saving—the spur of the invisible hand will yield unimaginable wealth. Mitchell S. Jackson, Harper's magazine, "Opportunity Cost," 10 Feb. 2019 But the taxonomy that emerged from this monumental effort has prompted both enlightenment and head scratching. Quanta Magazine, "Moonshine Link Discovered for Pariah Symmetries," 22 Sep. 2017 Since the election of Trump in 2016, the radical impulses of angry ‘wokeness’ have started to metabolize, among some, into a search for inner peace and spiritual enlightenment. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "1968 vs. 2018: 50 Years Later Fashion Is Still Playing With the Bohemian Rhapsody of the Late, Tumultuous ’60s," 14 Dec. 2018 The Constitution is best understood as a brilliant blend of traditional and enlightenment thinking, a Madisonian compromise if ever there was one. WSJ, "What Did the Enlightenment Really Give Us?," 13 Apr. 2018 Science fiction typically portrays aliens either as evil forces looking to conquer Earth or as benevolent beings helping humans along the path to enlightenment. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers asks whether humanity deserves to be saved," 29 Nov. 2018 Light axions looking for enlightenment The version of dark matter that is the focus of this work is a hypothetical subatomic particle known as the axion. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Pulsars could convert dark matter into something we could see," 20 Dec. 2018

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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Statistics for enlightenment

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for enlightenment

The first known use of enlightenment was in 1621

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More Definitions for enlightenment



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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Comments on enlightenment

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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