illuminate

verb
il·​lu·​mi·​nate | \ i-ˈlü-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce illuminate (audio) \
illuminated; illuminating

Definition of illuminate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a(1) : to supply or brighten with light
(2) : to make luminous or shining
b : to enlighten spiritually or intellectually
c : to subject to radiation
d archaic : to set alight
2a : to make clear : elucidate
b : to bring to the fore : highlight a crisis can illuminate how interdependent we all are
3 : to make illustrious or resplendent
4 : to decorate (something, such as a manuscript) with gold or silver or brilliant colors or with often elaborate designs or miniature pictures

illuminate

adjective
il·​lu·​mi·​nate | \ i-ˈlü-mə-nət How to pronounce illuminate (audio) \

Definition of illuminate (Entry 2 of 3)

1 archaic : brightened with light
2 archaic : intellectually or spiritually enlightened

illuminate

noun
il·​lu·​mi·​nate | \ i-ˈlü-mə-nət How to pronounce illuminate (audio) \

Definition of illuminate (Entry 3 of 3)

archaic
: one having or claiming unusual enlightenment

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Other Words from illuminate

Verb

illuminator \ i-​ˈlü-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce illuminator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for illuminate

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of illuminate in a Sentence

Verb the part of the moon illuminated by the sun A university study has illuminated the problem.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb With the accompanying interferometer, the tool can illuminate details 25 times finer than individual telescopes. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "See the 'space butterfly' astronomers captured from thousands of light years away," 2 Aug. 2020 As a former police officer’s arrest unfolds, chilling facts materialize to illuminate Michelle’s foreshadowing of the events in the series finale. Nina Zafar, Washington Post, "What to watch this weekend: ‘Seeing America with Megan Rapinoe’ on HBO," 1 Aug. 2020 First, there’s a reason why hospitalization data is important: Knowing whether the demand for beds is rising or falling can help illuminate how hard-hit any area is, and whether reopening in that region is safe. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, "Covid-19 Data in the US Is an ‘Information Catastrophe’," 30 July 2020 The kitchen's windows, all from the Reserve line, help illuminate the space's different areas, and add to the room's overall design. Samantha Weiss-hills, House Beautiful, "These Kitchen Windows Do It All, And Then Some," 1 July 2020 The bright orange color is easy to see underwater, and its flashlight will help illuminate the ground underwater. Gabrielle Hondorp, Popular Mechanics, "The 5 Best Metal Detectors for Beginners," 28 June 2020 Even if everything wasn’t fine, there were beacons to illuminate a way forward. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "The Moving Lights of a World in Quarantine," 8 July 2020 In the West Village, a rainbow light art installation next to the Stonewall Inn was expected to illuminate the sky in tribute to the uprising and the original march. Brian Mahoney, BostonGlobe.com, "In NYC, marking 50th anniversary of Pride, no matter what," 28 June 2020 Contact tracing and interviews will illuminate the details soon. cleveland, "Ohio has had 47,651 coronavirus cases, up 892: Thursday update," 25 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The problem is that, while the careful study of history can provide policymakers with powerful insights, incongruous comparisons can just as easily obscure as illuminate contemporary challenges. Richard Fontaine, The Atlantic, "The Uses and Misuses of Historical Analogy for North Korea," 3 Oct. 2017 Throughout the film, interviews reveal the pervasive abuses committed against infants, children and teens as well as illuminate groups and people who are working to stop it. Kimber Myers, latimes.com, "Filmmaker-monk goes after sex trade in documentary 'Stopping Traffic'," 28 Sep. 2017

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1600, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for illuminate

Verb

Middle English, from Latin illuminatus, past participle of illuminare, from in- + luminare to light up, from lumin-, lumen light — more at luminary

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Time Traveler for illuminate

Time Traveler

The first known use of illuminate was in the 15th century

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Statistics for illuminate

Last Updated

10 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Illuminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illuminate. Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for illuminate

illuminate

verb
How to pronounce illuminate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of illuminate

: to supply (something) with light : to shine light on (something)
: to make (something) clear and easier to understand

illuminate

verb
il·​lu·​mi·​nate | \ i-ˈlü-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce illuminate (audio) \
illuminated; illuminating

Kids Definition of illuminate

1 : to supply with light : light up He clutched Rose as a dazzling blast illuminated the lobby…— Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck
2 : to make clear : explain His speech illuminated the subject.

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Comments on illuminate

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