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

bathe, beacon, emblaze, illume, illumine, irradiate, light, lighten

Antonyms: Verb

blacken, darken, obfuscate

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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

After two mass shootings this weekend, the thorny debate over gun control is once again illuminated in the national spotlight. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rihanna Criticizes Trump After the El Paso and Dayton Shootings," 5 Aug. 2019 Morrison, who has done sculptures for parks, libraries and schools around the country, designed her 10-foot-tall cactus so it can be illuminated at night by LEDs. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "New sculptures unveiled at Chollas Creek Park," 2 Aug. 2019 When the lights are switched on inside the cabin, the entire space is illuminated. Deborah Martin, ExpressNews.com, "Roxie Theatre’s ‘Evil Dead’ spills more blood," 1 Aug. 2019 The fluorescent protein glows when the cell is illuminated by a certain wavelength of light, which visually labels the associated structure. Quanta Magazine, "His Artificial Intelligence Sees Inside Living Cells," 24 July 2019 The world’s largest outdoor chandelier has drawn droves of wedding parties and gawkers since it was first illuminated to great fanfare and a crowd of 25,000 in 2014. Andrea Simakis, cleveland.com, "Playhouse Square tops its fundraising goal with $110 million ‘Advancing the Legacy’ campaign," 24 July 2019 In the nation's capital, an image of a 363-foot Saturn V will be illuminated on the Washington monument. Editors, USA TODAY, "House's vote on Barr and Ross, Apollo 11 anniversary, Emmy nominations: 5 things to know Tuesday," 16 July 2019 The entire sky was illuminated, as if by a giant, otherworldly streetlamp. Elisabeth Zerofsky, The New Yorker, "The Causes and Consequences of Berlin’s Rapid Gentrification," 12 July 2019 The garden pathways will be illuminated July 18-20 for Flower Piano at Night, with special performances, food and drink. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "Friday morning in San Francisco and the sound of pianos blossom," 12 July 2019

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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Statistics for illuminate

Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for illuminate

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

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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.

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Comments on illuminate

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