enlighten

verb
en·​light·​en | \ in-ˈlī-tᵊn How to pronounce enlighten (audio) , en-\
enlightened; enlightening\ in-​ˈlīt-​niŋ How to pronounce enlightening (audio) , -​ˈlī-​tᵊn-​iŋ , en-​ \

Definition of enlighten

transitive verb

1a : to furnish knowledge to : instruct enlightened us about the problem
b : to give spiritual insight to
2 archaic : illuminate

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Examples of enlighten in a Sentence

I don't understand what's going on; can someone please enlighten me? the lecturer at the planetarium enlightened us about the latest astronomical discoveries

Recent Examples on the Web

Make a list of wedding traditions form around the world: donning henna in India, releasing doves like the Dutch, or wearing black in Spain, to name a few, and quiz and enlighten your guests with traditional wedding knowledge. Heather Hall, Harper's BAZAAR, "10 Bridal Shower Game Ideas You Won't Hate Playing," 5 June 2019 Nonfiction titles promise to enlighten and entertain with insects, punctuation, fashion, history, and man fasting (see below). John Timpane, https://www.inquirer.com, "Big summer books for 2019 by Mark Haddon, Elizabeth Gilbert, Colson Whitehead, Tan France," 5 June 2019 David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon Hanson enlightened me about the cost to many American communities of China’s rise. New York Times, "The Profound Social Cost of American Exceptionalism," 29 May 2018 The goal is to enlighten the newcomer while providing a novel twist that will please the expert. Parul Sehgal, New York Times, "Essays That Make Sense of the Infinite and the Infinitesimal," 15 May 2018 Shown in a black venue her black clothes were enlightened by towering white wigs (à la Marie Antoinette) and slashes of skin that were visible through the geometric cuts of the garments. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Vogue Runway Did a Ten-Year Fashion Challenge: Check Out the Results Here," 30 Jan. 2019 Enter Gabriel Held, Instagram’s most celebrated vintage dealer and fashion historian who has taken his already-enlightening feed and amped it up with a very special, very resolution-worthy hashtag. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Let Gabriel Held’s #unsungsherooffashion Be Your 2019 Style Touchstone," 7 Jan. 2019 There are two ways that most people first hear the Audio-Technica name: either in association with Technics turntables or via a pushy friend or YouTuber enlightening them about the M50x headphones. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Audio-Technica M50xBT review: better beats," 12 Nov. 2018 Spending two weeks on an Antarctic cruise learning about climate change must have been enlightening. Lale Arikoglu, Condé Nast Traveler, "Innovators: How Indré Rockefeller, Co-Founder of Paravel, Made Luggage Romantic Again," 19 Sep. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

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Statistics for enlighten

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enlighten

The first known use of enlighten was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for enlighten

enlighten

verb

English Language Learners Definition of enlighten

: to give knowledge or understanding to (someone) : to explain something to (someone)

enlighten

verb
en·​light·​en | \ in-ˈlī-tᵊn How to pronounce enlighten (audio) \
enlightened; enlightening

Kids Definition of enlighten

: to give knowledge or understanding to “Where is she now? Will someone please enlighten me?”— Brian Jacques, Redwall

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