illustrate

verb
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

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Other Words from illustrate

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

Synonyms for illustrate

Synonyms

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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 To illustrate, Cora jokingly cited an example from Wednesday, when his 3-year-old twin sons — Xander and Isander — refused to eat breakfast. BostonGlobe.com, "Xander Bogaerts, 1,000 games into his Red Sox career, is more valuable than ever," 6 May 2021 Some of the guidelines include detailed examples to illustrate fine distinctions. Kirsten Grind, WSJ, "Inside ‘Facebook Jail’: The Secret Rules That Put Users in the Doghouse," 4 May 2021 There, head chef Craig Breeden snaps photos of the fish next to his knife to illustrate their diminutive size before shipping them back. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Salmon have shrunk so much that Whole Foods redid its guidelines," 4 May 2021 There, head chef Craig Breeden snaps photos of the fish next to his knife to illustrate their diminutive size before shipping them back. Kim Chipman, chicagotribune.com, "Salmon size is shrinking, and climate change is likely to blame. ‘It’s only going to get worse.’," 3 May 2021 These movements illustrate a grim truth: In both the past and the present, anti-science sentiments are inextricably tangled with racial prejudice. Edna Bonhomme, The Atlantic, "Germany’s Anti-Vaccination History Is Riddled With Anti-Semitism," 2 May 2021 At conferences and meetings in the late 1990s, like a door-to-door salesman, Mr. Reicher would pull a solar shingle out of his briefcase to illustrate his vision for the future of home electricity. New York Times, "Tesla’s Latest Solar Stumble: Big Price Increases," 29 Apr. 2021 Other key data points illustrate the squeeze: • Active listings for homes have dropped by between 11% and 32% across the region in just a year. The Salt Lake Tribune, "How tight is Utah’s housing market? Some buyers offer $100K over asking.," 28 Apr. 2021 There, head chef Craig Breeden snaps photos of the fish next to his knife to illustrate their diminutive size before shipping them back. Author: Kim Chipman, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska salmon have shrunk so much that a famed Seattle restaurant is rejecting some and Whole Foods overhauled its guidelines," 27 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for illustrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of illustrate was in 1526

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Statistics for illustrate

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Illustrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illustrate. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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.

Comments on illustrate

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