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 An internal federal government document obtained by The New York Times illuminated Russia’s lack of preparedness. Anton Troianovski, BostonGlobe.com, "As coronavirus overruns Russia, doctors are dying on the front lines," 14 May 2020 An internal federal government document obtained by The New York Times illuminated Russia’s lack of preparedness. Anton Troianovski, New York Times, "As Coronavirus Overruns Russia, Doctors Are Dying on the Front Lines," 14 May 2020 Both films explore the experiences of black people in Alabama, illuminating racial politics, social inequalities and more. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, "2 films with Alabama ties among nominees for Peabody Awards," 7 May 2020 Like the veins and arteries of a patient highlighted by an angiogram, the money’s crooked pathways illuminated the bloodstream of a corrupt world and the lengths to which its beneficiaries were prepared to go to protect themselves and their gains. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's Magazine, "The Malaysian Job," 27 Apr. 2020 Their consoles didn't even keep the trouble lights illuminated after a system moved back into its normal bounds. Eric Berger & Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "The Greatest Leap, part 5: Saving the crew of Apollo 13," 11 Apr. 2020 The two-part finale dared to break up the family triumvirate while remaining hopeful by illuminating new beginnings (and still lighting the way back home). Dan Snierson, EW.com, "Modern Family co-creator breaks down the emotional series finale," 9 Apr. 2020 The DualSense features a two-toned look with a white touchpad and subtle PlayStation blue light bar illuminating the sides. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "DualSense is the video game controller for PlayStation 5. Here's what it does.," 7 Apr. 2020 In an epidemic, numerical data and mathematical models are like night-vision goggles, illuminating what cannot be directly perceived. Andrew D. Hwang, The Conversation, "Coronavirus cases are growing exponentially – here’s what that means," 2 Apr. 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

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Illuminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illuminate. Accessed 2 Jun. 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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