il·​lus·​tra·​tion | \ ˌi-lə-ˈstrā-shən also i-ˌlə- How to pronounce illustration (audio) \

Definition of illustration

1a : the action of illustrating : the condition of being illustrated
b archaic : the action of making illustrious or honored or distinguished
2 : something that serves to illustrate: such as
a : an example or instance that helps make something clear
b : a picture or diagram that helps make something clear or attractive

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Other Words from illustration

illustrational \ ˌi-​lə-​ˈstrā-​shnəl How to pronounce illustrational (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl also  i-​ˌlə-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for illustration


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instance, case, illustration, example, sample, specimen mean something that exhibits distinguishing characteristics in its category. instance applies to any individual person, act, or thing that may be offered to illustrate or explain. an instance of history repeating itself case is used to direct attention to a real or assumed occurrence or situation that is to be considered, studied, or dealt with. a case of mistaken identity illustration applies to an instance offered as a means of clarifying or illuminating a general statement. a telling illustration of Murphy's Law example applies to a typical, representative, or illustrative instance or case. a typical example of bureaucratic waste sample implies a part or unit taken at random from a larger whole and so presumed to be typical of its qualities. show us a sample of your work specimen applies to any example or sample whether representative or merely existent and available. one of the finest specimens of the jeweler's art

Examples of illustration in a Sentence

The illustration on page 30 shows the parts of an engine. a book with many photographs and illustrations The illustrations that he provided in his speech were very effective. They selected photographs to use for the illustration of the book. Illustration is the key to good communication.
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Recent Examples on the Web With bright, bold illustrations and catchy text, this one will have little ones begging to read it again and again. Ciarra Chavarria, NBC News, "Holiday gift guide: 10 awesome books to inspire girls to know their value," 2 Dec. 2019 Read the full blog post with illustrations here. 2. Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "6 easy, low-cost ways to keep kids busy at the Thanksgiving table – and adults sane," 26 Nov. 2019 Thirty discoveries and inventions explained in clear text with simple cartoon illustrations, from the wheel and money to DNA and artificial intelligence. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "82 new books for holiday gifts in 2019, from Prince to Susan Sontag," 22 Nov. 2019 The walls are decorated with oversize black-and-white illustrations of fish. New York Times, "Swimming Against a Tide of Expensive Sushi," 5 Nov. 2019 Their rapidly developing fine motor skills evolve alongside their delight with illustrations and the pleasure of turning pages. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "There’s now an e-reader just for kids, and it misses what children love about books," 1 Nov. 2019 An Ode to the Fresh Cut, a children’s book about the power of an artful barbershop haircut to boost self-esteem, with illustrations that star young black boys. Ashley Fetters, The Atlantic, "Every Child Can Become a Lover of Books," 15 Oct. 2019 In high school, Addams fell in love with illustration and ended up at New York City’s Grand Central School of Art. Patrick Sauer, Smithsonian, "The Cultural History of ‘The Addams Family’," 12 Oct. 2019 With illustrations by Arturo Torres, Serrano uses his trademark wit to probe questions such as which movie with Kevin Costner in the white savior role is the ultimate white savior role? Margaret Wappler, Los Angeles Times, "LéaLA festival, going wild in L.A., ‘Year of the Monkey’ and more book events this week," 4 Oct. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for illustration

Time Traveler

The first known use of illustration was in the 14th century

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Statistics for illustration

Last Updated

7 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Illustration.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for illustration


How to pronounce illustration (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of illustration

: a picture or drawing in a book, magazine, etc.
: an example or story that is used to make something easier to understand
: the act or process of producing or providing pictures for a book, magazine, etc.


il·​lus·​tra·​tion | \ ˌi-lə-ˈstrā-shən How to pronounce illustration (audio) \

Kids Definition of illustration

1 : a picture or diagram that explains or decorates The dictionary has color illustrations.
2 : an example or instance used to make something clear The speech included illustrations of his successes.
3 : the action of illustrating : the condition of being illustrated He finished the illustration of the book.

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Comments on illustration

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