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 illuminate (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 Journalists use them to illuminate the flaws in certain weapons. David Axe, Forbes, 6 July 2021 The married couple instead set up floodlights to illuminate their house in the colors of the rainbow. Li Cohen, CBS News, 12 June 2021 Using simple curtains and a sheer fabric invites romance, yet still allows plenty of light to illuminate the room. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 27 Apr. 2021 Their stories illuminate an unfortunate but predictable anti-immigrant sentiment that seems pervasive across the U.S. Lorraine Ali Television Critic, Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2021 Bluart & Camtele, Newest Top Technologies for Inspection Camera: Adjustable 6 LED lights with Bluart tech, illuminate the darkness and reduce the overexposure, capturing pictures and videos more sharply in the best optical condition. Maren Estrada, BGR, 16 Apr. 2021 The waterproof mask had a clear transparent face area with internal lights to illuminate your face in dark conditions. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 8 Apr. 2021 After part of the fire was extinguished near the street, some used flashlights on their cellphones to illuminate the way for people carrying bodies. Bryan Pietsch, Washington Post, 13 July 2021 From monarchies to apologies, pooches to plastic surgery, this docuseries explores a wide range of fascinating topics to illuminate your world. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 11 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective If sentiments seem easily derived in a few stories, in the best ones, mysteries like Theodosia's illuminate larger truths about love, loyalty and the persistence of memory. Star Tribune, 8 Jan. 2021 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, 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, 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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Dictionary Entries Near illuminate

illuminant

illuminate

illuminati

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Statistics for illuminate

Last Updated

30 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Illuminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illuminate. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for illuminate

illuminate

verb

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on illuminate

Nglish: Translation of illuminate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of illuminate for Arabic Speakers

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