il·lus·tra·tion | \ˌi-lə-ˈstrā-shən also i-ˌlə- \

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, -shə-nᵊl also i-ˌlə- \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for illustration

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

Get it: $120, These adorable shorts offer a literal illustration of your love for mom. SELF, "15 Fitness Gifts All Active Moms Will Love," 3 May 2018 The couple’s Midcentury aesthetic ran like a thread through every element of the wedding, beginning with the invites by Goods Gang and paper goods by Jen Kay, with illustrations by Tabitha Hope. Tamara Abraham, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Bridal Shop Owner Wore Five Different Dresses for her Palm Springs Wedding," 10 July 2018 Artist and creative director George McCalman captures the style and personality of attendees at Bay Area events with his illustrations. George Mccalman,, "Design Week and Deco Ball draw eclectic attendees," 22 June 2018 His illustrations included diagrams positing pre-Newtonian theories of physics, a rudimentary plan for a flying machine and many, many sketches of birds in flight. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "How Drones Are Revolutionizing the Way Film and Television Is Made," 31 May 2018 Artist and creative director George McCalman captures the style and personality of attendees at Bay Area events with his illustrations. San Francisco Chronicle, "Observed: Renegade crafters, art lovers and creatives converge," 17 May 2018 Sarah Farahat, the artist chosen to design a mural to recognize the victims and survivors the deadly 2017 MAX stabbing attack, revealed her latest illustrations Wednesday., "Artist shows latest design for mural honoring MAX stabbing victims and survivors," 7 Mar. 2018 As a digital artist, Clayburn uses technology to create his illustrations. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "UNCC artist has made a name for himself drawing star athletes. Just check his Instagram," 13 Feb. 2018 Hartz has a degree in illustration from Grand Valley State University. Bryce Airgood, Detroit Free Press, "Artist with special needs brightens up Berkley with chalk drawings," 12 July 2018

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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Share illustration

Phrases Related to illustration

by way of illustration

Statistics for illustration

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for illustration

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

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More Definitions for illustration


il·lus·tra·tion | \ˌi-lə-ˈstrā-shən \

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

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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