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 Shen Yun was formed in 2006 by followers of Falun Gong, which Li Hongzhi had founded in China in 1992 and drew on the tradition of qigong, in which breathing, meditation and movement foster good health or spiritual enlightenment. Matthias Gafni, SFChronicle.com, "Behind the blitz: Falun Gong practitioners spend millions on Shen Yun ads. How do they do it?," 11 Jan. 2020 Mr Macron focuses on the geopolitical strength of America and China, which could undermine the enlightenment values represented by Europe. The Economist, "Charlemagne Huntington’s disease and the clash of civilisation-states," 2 Jan. 2020 There's a term called satori [meaning awakening/ enlightenment in Japanese] in Buddhist and Zen teachings. Billboard Japan, Billboard, "J-Pop Star Gen Hoshino Reflects, 'The World Seems Closer': Interview," 31 Dec. 2019 Enlightenment thinking doesn’t always guarantee enlightenment. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Jeffrey Epstein and the Power of Networks," 27 Aug. 2019 The night sky has always been a source of wonder and enlightenment. Michael Byers And Aaron Boley, Twin Cities, "Byers, Boley: How Elon Musk can help save astronomy," 26 Dec. 2019 In search for a more permanent enlightenment, Ram Dass went to India in 1967. NBC News, "Ram Dass, psychedelic drug pioneer and author, dies at 88," 23 Dec. 2019 Open Your Mind For the person in your life who could use a little enlightenment. David Canfield, EW.com, "EW's literary gift guide: The 30 best holiday books of the year," 18 Dec. 2019 But Alpert eventually sought a way to reach a state of enlightenment without drugs. USA TODAY, "Baba Ram Dass, famed spiritual leader and LSD proponent, dead at 88," 23 Dec. 2019

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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Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Enlightenment.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enlightenment. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for enlightenment


How to pronounce enlightenment (audio)

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

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to insert between existing elements

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