il·​lu·​mi·​na·​tion | \ i-ˌlü-mə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce illumination (audio) \

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 keys light up as your hands approach, and there’s a sensor that adjusts the illumination according to the lighting conditions. Cnet,, "Best back-to-school gear under $100," 4 Sep. 2020 Mission Concepción will observe its annual double solar illumination during the feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a special online presentation at 6 p.m. Saturday. Express-news Staff,, "Timeline of coronavirus in San Antonio: August," 4 Sep. 2020 The Full Corn Moon will reach its peak illumination on Wednesday, September 2 at around 1:20 a.m., EST. Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, "You Won't Want to Miss the Full Corn Moon Tonight," 1 Sep. 2020 The troops responded with fire, illumination rounds and smoke shells and later retaliated with attack helicopters and aircraft,... Felicia Schwartz, WSJ, "Israel Attacks Hezbollah Posts on Lebanese Border in Retaliatory Fire," 26 Aug. 2020 The units deployed illumination rounds and flares and patrolled roads to ensure no Hezbollah forces were trying to enter Israel. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, "Israel says it hit Hezbollah posts in Lebanon after taking fire," 26 Aug. 2020 The only visibility in the total darkness were muzzle flashes, illumination flares, and tracers. Matt Fratus, Field & Stream, "The Stories Behind 7 Infamous U.S. Military Knives," 19 Aug. 2020 The garden sold almost every available ticket to its outdoor walk through curated illumination displays, and those 175,000 visitors pushed the Glencoe attraction to a year-end finish with the highest attendance in its 48-year history. Steve Johnson,, "Chicago Botanic Garden to go ahead with outdoor holiday lights show," 19 Aug. 2020 But power is a precious commodity, especially when traveling to the moon or Mars, so developing the right kind of illumination will be key. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Massive lava tubes on the moon and Mars could be used by astronauts," 19 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for illumination

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for illumination

Last Updated

18 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Illumination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for illumination


How to pronounce illumination (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of illumination

: light that comes into a room, that shines on something, etc.
formal : knowledge or understanding
: a gold or colored decoration in an old book


il·​lu·​mi·​na·​tion | \ i-ˌlü-mə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce illumination (audio) \

Kids Definition of illumination

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


il·​lu·​mi·​na·​tion | \ il-ˌü-mə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce illumination (audio) \

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 How to pronounce illuminate (audio) \ transitive verb illuminated; illuminating

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