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

What lies in front of us are two choices: enlightenment or fascism. . Antonia Hitchens, The New Yorker, "Marianne Williamson’s Esprit de Orb Corps," 26 Aug. 2019 The spiritual leader and best-selling author of 13 books on suffering and enlightenment did not serve up economic fixes, like Elizabeth Warren. Laura M. Holson, Town & Country, "Marianne Williamson's Disciples Are Everywhere," 2 July 2019 Despite the cheekiness of the staging, Hamida’s path to enlightenment feels a bit shopworn. Karen D'souza, The Mercury News, "Review: Swashbuckling world premiere ‘House of Joy’ hits and misses at Cal Shakes," 19 Aug. 2019 Your brilliant thinking can impress others, and conversations can bring enlightenment. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for Aug. 14, 2019: Happy birthday Steve Martin; Capricorn, restrictions ease," 14 Aug. 2019 Bhagavan Narada Das, leader of the Krishna Temple, said the festival is meant to bring spiritual wealth, prosperity and enlightenment. Vincent T. Davis, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio Festival of Chariots celebrates enlightenment," 6 July 2019 The bus, a 1963 11-window Deluxe, was covered in symbols and languages, with a dollop of astrology, a sphinx, heavenly bodies, and the Hindu diety Vishnu, conveying messages of hope and enlightenment. David Morgan, CBS News, "A Woodstock icon recreated: The VW "Light Bus"," 4 Aug. 2019 The aims of this neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology include decoding all of biology and achieving human enlightenment. Quanta Magazine, "A Neurobiologist Thinks Big — and Small," 18 Jan. 2018 For market watchers and finance industry savants, Greenspan was a human koan upon which they were expected to puzzle out their own economic enlightenment. Elizabeth Spiers, The New Republic, "Beyond Pelosi," 24 July 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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Statistics for enlightenment

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

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The first known use of enlightenment was in 1621

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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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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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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