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

Definition of illustration

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

Other Words from illustration

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

Synonyms for illustration


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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.
Recent Examples on the Web This ubiquitous depiction of urban isolation, a diner with no entrance and no exit, serves as a memorable illustration of loneliness. Kara Devlin, Longreads, 20 May 2022 Harry and Meghan didn't exactly share a new photo of baby Archie in their 2020 Christmas card, but the greeting did include this sweet illustration, crafted from a picture taken by Meghan's mother. The Editors, Town & Country, 19 May 2022 The exhibition features whimsical, wall-sized works by Studio Muti, an illustration group based in Cape Town, South Africa. Megan Becka, cleveland, 18 May 2022 The color illustration gives off heavy anime vibes. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 18 May 2022 The Warriors shared an illustration of Curry in his graduation cap and gown in an Instagram post on Sunday, congratulating him. Wilson Wong, NBC News, 16 May 2022 The gyrations of TerraUSD, together with the collapse of Luna, provided an illustration. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 14 May 2022 Besides her Broadway musical, Drescher has also been focused on the launch of new illustration book. Bianca Brutus,, 9 May 2022 But most Republicans have made no secret of their opposition to Roe, and some voters could view the failure of a purely symbolic Senate vote as another illustration of a Democratic majority’s impotence. Eli Stokols, Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of illustration

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

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

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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Illustration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for illustration


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on illustration

Nglish: Translation of illustration for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of illustration for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about illustration


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