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

As the title suggests, Threads illuminates the connective tissue between the nine-time Grammy winner and three sets of compatriots. Sarah Rodman, EW.com, "Sheryl Crow shares the stories and secrets behind her final full-length album, Threads," 4 Sep. 2019 The books and illuminated manuscript pages on view lure you in for a close look at their gemlike illustrations, finely rendered in luminous tones of blue, red and yellow-green. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "‘Medieval Monsters’ exhibit at Cleveland Museum of Art surveys images used to inspire fear, hatred and wonder," 1 Sep. 2019 The invincible thought of Chairman Mao illuminates revolutionary art. Ilaria Maria Sala, Quartz, "Chairman Mao is making an appearance at the Hong Kong protests," 28 Aug. 2019 Basic science illuminates the deep roots of this phenomenon. Seth Fletcher, Scientific American, "Truth, Lies & Uncertainty," 28 Aug. 2019 And, for the first time Cincinnati Bell on Wednesday night illuminated its signage on top of Atrium II using Pride colors. Sharon Coolidge, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Bell building decked out in rainbow Post-It note mural in honor of Pride month," 13 June 2019 Results of some of that research illuminate many of those misperceptions concerning coyotes. Shannon Tompkins, ExpressNews.com, "Meet the coyote, one of nature’s great tricksters," 13 June 2019 The walls of earth enclose his face as flashes of lightning illuminate it. Max Nelson, Harper's magazine, "The All-Seeing Eye," 10 June 2019 Fully illuminated, the flashy 450-foot tower can be seen for miles from points in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. David Lyons, sun-sentinel.com, "Guitar-shaped Hard Rock hotel starts revealing stunning display of lights," 19 July 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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Statistics for illuminate

Last Updated

12 Sep 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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