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

Other Words from illustrate

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

Synonyms for illustrate


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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.
Recent Examples on the Web Experts said the uncertainty surrounding the identity and aims of the woman in the video further illustrate how false information can be weaponized regardless of its originator’s intentions. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2022 Growing Abolition’s greenhouse was built to illustrate the inhumanity of ADX Florence after sumell met a solitary gardener confined there. Abigail Glasgow, Vogue, 10 June 2022 As attempts by social media platforms to police extremist content and viral misinformation illustrate all too well, content moderation is a tricky thing to do at scale. Brian Contrerasstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2022 Season Three mostly left the docks behind, but added many new characters in both City Hall and other corners of the BPD, to illustrate how difficult attempts to reform the War on Drugs, let alone end it, will be. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 2 June 2022 The process of creating the paintings, which historically were commissioned to illustrate religious stories, scientific texts, poetry, tales, and imperial histories, was meticulous. Naib Mian, The New Yorker, 1 June 2022 This story is naming four — those whose cases illustrate both the gulf in the level of offenses the Navy dealt with internally and the disparities in punishment for similar misconduct. San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 May 2022 And as the examples of Goei and Zaslav illustrate, the size of CEO comp packages often appears completely disconnected to performance. Scott Decarlo, Fortune, 27 May 2022 If Marker and Ophuls illustrate history explicitly, with voice-overs, juxtaposition, and montage, Eustache creates a portrait of almost real life, a fiction in the classical territory of cinema. Rachel Kushner, Harper’s Magazine , 25 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for illustrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of illustrate was in 1526

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Statistics for illustrate

Last Updated

27 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Illustrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for illustrate


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on illustrate

Nglish: Translation of illustrate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of illustrate for Arabic Speakers


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