illustrate

verb

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

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
b
: to light up
4
a
archaic : to make illustrious
b obsolete
(1)
: to make bright
(2)
: adorn

intransitive verb

: to give an example or instance
illustrator
ˈi-lə-ˌstrā-tər How to pronounce illustrate (audio)
 also  i-ˈlə-
noun

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 From a visual style that cites the wild, earth-toned cinema of New Hollywood to the motifs of American rock music and Coca-Cola, Park, who directed three episodes, illustrates how the soft power of cultural imperialism can blur battle lines. Judy Berman, TIME, 10 Apr. 2024 The Meta-verse The debacle helps illustrate one of the more pernicious issues of our Extremely Online Era that’s often glossed over in a morass of boring regulatory jargon: the concentration of power in social media. Allison Morrow, CNN, 9 Apr. 2024 This growing chasm between U.S. and Israeli perceptions of the war illustrates not only the difficulty of orchestrating compellence but also the waning influence of the United States in the region. Steven Simon, Foreign Affairs, 9 Apr. 2024 Her performance slot at the 2016 SuperBowl and the Cowboy Carter-inducing appearance at the Country Music Awards illustrate a dichotomy that continues to play out in the responses to Caitlin Clark versus Angel Reese. Brooklyn White, Essence, 9 Apr. 2024 The decision illustrated the downside of going all-in on electric vehicles. Jack Ewing, New York Times, 9 Apr. 2024 But before illustrating when and why, a bit of very basic background about the niche sport of canoe slalom, for the uninitiated. Théoden Janes, Charlotte Observer, 9 Apr. 2024 The reversal of the wealth gap between Musk and Zuckerberg, which was as big as $215 billion in November 2021, illustrates how once-hot electric vehicle stocks have been usurped by big tech, and particularly anything involving artificial intelligence. Vernal Galpotthawela, Fortune, 6 Apr. 2024 His tenure illustrates the challenges and risks of guiding such a public conglomerate. Jim Osman, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'illustrate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1526, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of illustrate was in 1526

Dictionary Entries Near illustrate

Cite this Entry

“Illustrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illustrate. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

illustrate

verb
il·​lus·​trate ˈil-əs-ˌtrāt How to pronounce illustrate (audio)
il-ˈəs-
illustrated; illustrating
1
: to make clear by using examples
illustrated his point with a personal experience
2
a
: to provide with pictures or diagrams intended to explain or decorate
illustrate a book
b
: to serve as an illustration
illustrator noun

More from Merriam-Webster on illustrate

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