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 Thomas Edison’s lab tested more than 3,000 designs before creating the lightbulb that today illuminates our world round-the-clock. Alain Sylvain, Quartz at Work, "Is our misguided affair with agility putting speed ahead of good work?," 17 Dec. 2019 The porcelain piece features LED lights that illuminate every window and string light. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, "Elvis Fans Need This Replica of Christmas at Graceland," 4 Dec. 2019 The Bicentennial Commission and its partners have developed exhibits and programs that illuminate distinct periods and turning points in the state’s history. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Alabama Bicentennial commemoration nears grand finale," 28 Nov. 2019 Here, LaBeouf breaks down one of the key scenes in Honey Boy that illuminates the relationship him and his parents all had with each other. Marcus Jones, EW.com, "Honey Boy: Shia LaBeouf annotates the pivotal phone scene from his autobiographical new film," 10 Nov. 2019 Well, those and that all-knowing light that illuminates dark secrets best left under the surface. Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "'The Lighthouse' is a grim nautical tale starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe," 24 Oct. 2019 My fantasy home-tech product would be a wireless lighting system that illuminates my outlet-free closet. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "Google’s Top-Secret Design Lab Is Where Its Home Products Are Born," 22 Sep. 2019 Majorelle’s former villa also houses a Berber Museum of artifacts, costumes, and jewels that illuminate the ancient North African culture. National Geographic, "Visit a designer’s oasis in the heart of Marrakech," 20 Sep. 2019 Next door, Malcolm Greenaway runs a photography studio that illuminates Block’s beauty in all its seasons. Vogue, "What’s Old Is New Again on Block Island," 14 Aug. 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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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

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Illuminate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illuminate?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=i&file=illumi07. Accessed 26 January 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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