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

The company opens its showcase building and manufacturing plant for tours showing off its offices, which are fully illuminated with natural light. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, "North County Business Briefs, July 11," 11 July 2019 In the astronomical analogy, the planet would have to be illuminated only by light coming from the observatory, which would somehow also collect all the light that’s reemitted. Quanta Magazine, "The Quantum Theory That Peels Away the Mystery of Measurement," 3 July 2019 While keeping their eyes on each required spot on the screen, they were told to indicate if the brakes lights on a vehicle in the lane ahead were illuminated (by pressing the space button on a keyboard). Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Your eyes are the key to distracted driving, not your brain," 1 July 2019 The colors contrasted against the black jacket as if the flowers were illuminated in the night. Tatum Dooley, Teen Vogue, "Artist Darby Milbrath Collaborated With Celine on an Embroidered Bomber Jacket," 27 June 2019 This technology uses red light that is undetectable to sea creatures but allows the pitch black ocean to be illuminated enough for researchers to spot elusive animals and discover new ones. Fox News, "Terrifying images show giant squid the size of a car caught on camera in US waters for first time," 24 June 2019 On June 9, the day a sudden, violent storm blew through Dallas, Clyde posted a video to Facebook in which he is illuminated by candlelight. Dallas News, "What we know about Brian Clyde, the gunman who opened fire at the federal courthouse in downtown Dallas," 17 June 2019 Paul Golz, 95, has a clear memory of being on guard duty in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944 — and realizing the invasion was underway when the skies over the Normandy coast were illuminated by flares. Petra Cahill, NBC News, "Trump greets Queen Elizabeth II and insults London's mayor: The Morning Rundown," 3 June 2019 How Berlin’s memories were transmuted into her stories is illuminated in Evening in Paradise’s companion volume, Berlin’s first published work of memoir, called Welcome Home. Bridget Read, Vogue, "How Lucia Berlin Became A Literary Superstar 11 Years After Her Death (And Is About to Publish A New Collection)," 5 Nov. 2018

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

18 Jul 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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