il·lu·mi·na·tion | \i-ˌlü-mə-ˈnā-shən \

Definition of illumination 

1 : the action of illuminating or state of being illuminated: such as

a : spiritual or intellectual enlightenment

b(1) : a lighting up

(2) : decorative lighting or lighting effects

c : decoration by the art of illuminating

2 : the luminous flux per unit area on an intercepting surface at any given point

3 : one of the decorative features used in the art of illuminating or in decorative lighting

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Examples of illumination in a Sentence

When taking photographs indoors, use a flash for illumination. They traveled to the temple in search of spiritual illumination. an old manuscript with beautiful illuminations
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Recent Examples on the Web

The top-of-the-line Ascent touring’s $44,695 does include a cargo cover as well as fancy floor mats, wood trim, ambient interior illumination and a rich-looking exclusive brown leather upholstery called java. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Newly arrived 2019 Subaru Ascent fills three-row midsize SUV niche," 24 June 2018 These were really crappy, inefficient, polluting ways of getting illumination. Nathanael Johnson, WIRED, "Where Can Climate Activists Find Common Ground?," 9 July 2018 Pretty much the only color comes from a brief flood of sickly dark purple illumination near the end — and from Kirill Petrenko, the music director of the Bavarian State Opera here, who conducts with visionary flammability. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, "Review: A Conductor Sets Munich’s Ashen ‘Parsifal’ Aflame," 1 July 2018 Indeed, throughout the performance the hard clarity of the Orchestra Hall acoustics benefited Pintscher’s forensic illumination of Ravel’s lavish yet transparent orchestration. John Von Rhein,, "CSO delivers a winning Ravel program under debut conductor Pintscher," 6 Apr. 2018 Approaching the entrance to New York’s Lower Bay on the evening of Jan. 14, 1942, Mr. Hardegen climbed to the bridge of U-123 and beheld an illumination that thrilled him. Richard Goldstein,, "Reinhard Hardegen, 105, who led U-boats to US shore," 23 June 2018 Full moons offer deep, rich insight into specific areas of life, and this month, the full moon electrifies your career zone, reflecting nocturnal illumination on your professional aspirations. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What June's Aries Horoscope Means for You," 29 May 2018 In an interview in March in Chelsea, at a cafe that adjusts its ambience as afternoon turns to evening, the conversation shifted exclusively to lighting as the illumination in the room changed. New York Times, "Falling for the Lure of the Stage. The Backstage.," 18 June 2018 But don't forget that during the new moon phase, the sky is completely dark, and there is no nocturnal illumination. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What June's Libra Horoscope Means for You," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'illumination.' 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 illumination

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for illumination

The first known use of illumination was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for illumination



English Language Learners Definition of illumination

: light that comes into a room, that shines on something, etc.

: knowledge or understanding

: a gold or colored decoration in an old book


il·lu·mi·na·tion | \i-ˌlü-mə-ˈnā-shən \

Kids Definition of illumination

: the action of lighting something : the state of being lighted


il·lu·mi·na·tion | \il-ˌü-mə-ˈnā-shən \

Medical Definition of illumination 

1 : the action of supplying or brightening with light or the resulting state

2 : the luminous flux per unit area on an intercepting surface at any given point

called also illuminance

Other Words from illumination

illuminate \il-ˈü-mə-ˌnāt \ transitive verb illuminated; illuminating

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Comments on illumination

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