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


diagram, figure, graphic, plate, visual

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The illustration, shown in a video released by the White House Wednesday afternoon, instantly caught the attention of many, including late-night hosts, who ridiculed the president for once again appearing to distort facts. al, "Late night hosts ridicule Trump’s Alabama Sharpie Dorian map," 5 Sep. 2019 The prose is beautiful, the illustrations by Bui even more so. Adriana E. Ramirez, Los Angeles Times, "Immigrant tales to read and embrace," 30 Aug. 2019 But the result is a scrapbook of happier times, a feeling that’s captured, too, by the whimsical watercolor illustrations by Elisa Cunningham. Washington Post, "Cooking can be therapeutic. For Ella Risbridger, it saved her life.," 27 Aug. 2019 The chapters were written in sequence, one writer at a time, with artist Kirk Lyttle creating the illustrations that accompanied them. Larry Millett, Twin Cities, "From the archives: Murder-on-a-stick: A Pioneer Press serial mystery novel (Chapter 1)," 21 Aug. 2019 Only after Vanity Fair republished the article online along with the Warhol illustration after Prince’s death in 2016, did Goldsmith see it for the first time. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Warhol’s Prince Image Doesn’t Violate Copyright, Judge Rules," 4 July 2019 Other rooms show how the black-and-white illustrations by British artists in weekly papers (above all, the pioneering Graphic, founded in 1869) left an indelible mark both on Van Gogh’s vision and his method. The New York Review of Books, "‘Van Gogh and Britain’," 17 June 2019 The artist behind the illustration, Cold War Steve (whose real name is Christopher Spencer), is known for his satirical photo collages that capture the U.K.’s current political climate. Kat Moon, Time, "Cold War Steve Designed the 'How Britain Went Bonkers' TIME Cover. Join Him for a Reddit AMA," 13 June 2019 The anti-Semitic illustration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump came from a syndication service. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Critics bemoan New York Times' decision to stop running editorial cartoons," 10 June 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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Statistics for illustration

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

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



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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