illustrate

verb
il·​lus·​trate | \ ˈi-lə-ˌstrāt also i-ˈlə- How to pronounce illustrate (audio) \
illustrated; illustrating

Definition of illustrate

transitive verb

1a : to provide with visual features intended to explain or decorate illustrate a book
b : to make clear by giving or by serving as an example or instance
c : to make clear : clarify
2 : to show clearly : demonstrate

3 obsolete

a : enlighten
b : to light up
4a archaic : to make illustrious

b obsolete

(1) : to make bright
(2) : adorn

intransitive verb

: to give an example or instance

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Other Words from illustrate

illustrator \ ˈi-​lə-​ˌstrā-​tər How to pronounce illustrator (audio) also  i-​ˈlə-​ \ noun

Synonyms for illustrate

Synonyms

demonstrate, exemplify, instance

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Examples of illustrate in a Sentence

He illustrated his lecture with stories of his own experiences in the field. Please give a few examples to illustrate your point. The results illustrate how important it is to wear your seatbelt. The students will write and illustrate their own stories.
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Recent Examples on the Web

All of the pipes were clear plastic, so as to illustrate the operations of the body, both human and architectural. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "The epic tale of the House of the Century, the trippy Texas icon that defies polite description," 12 July 2019 Despite the controversy, Skelton thinks the television scene does a nice job of illustrating Briana's love for Jemmy, a child born in difficult circumstances. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Outlander Star Sophie Skelton Weighs in on a Major Change from the Books," 6 July 2019 Also, as the Maryland and North Carolina cases illustrate, there are partisan gerrymanders on both sides, and at least some of these will cancel each other out nationally. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "How Much Does Gerrymandering Really Matter?," 28 June 2019 Federal action needed That illustrates the need for Congress to get involved, said Pollitz, since large-employer plans are regulated by federal law, and surprise billing protections already enacted by states like New York do not apply to them. CBS News, "Surprise medical bills: Congress aims to ease the pain," 20 June 2019 Democratic pollster Fernand Amandi said the Florida rally illustrates concern by the Trump campaign. Michael C. Bender, WSJ, "Trump Focuses Campaign Hopes on Florida," 17 June 2019 Finally, as if to illustrate the impossibility of living in the new Sundarbans, several dozen families pulled up stakes in April and moved to Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Peter Schwartzstein, National Geographic, "This vanishing forest protects the coasts—and lives—of two countries," 17 June 2019 That might sound as dry as a middle school science class, but Ignotofsky enlivens the concepts by illustrating them, showing how carbon moves through a sheep snacking on grass, pooping on the ground, and exhaling into the air. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Get a grip on the natural world with this beautiful manual for the planet," 15 Sep. 2018 The show also does a good job of illustrating the experiences of women with different financial backgrounds, and how that affects each of them in their day-to-day lives. Anika Reed, USA TODAY, "Fact-checking 'The Bold Type': Does the show get media jobs right?," 12 June 2018

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

1526, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

History and Etymology for illustrate

Latin illustratus, past participle of illustrare, from in- + lustrare to purify, make bright — more at luster

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Statistics for illustrate

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for illustrate

The first known use of illustrate was in 1526

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More Definitions for illustrate

illustrate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of illustrate

: to give examples in order to make (something) easier to understand
: to be proof or evidence of (something)
: to explain or decorate a story, book, etc., with pictures

illustrate

verb
il·​lus·​trate | \ ˈi-lə-ˌstrāt How to pronounce illustrate (audio) \
illustrated; illustrating

Kids Definition of illustrate

1 : to supply with pictures or diagrams meant to explain or decorate illustrate a book
2 : to make clear by using examples She illustrated her point with stories.
3 : to serve as an example The results illustrate the need for planning.

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Comments on illustrate

What made you want to look up illustrate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

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