il·​lus·​tra·​tive | \ i-ˈlə-strə-tiv also ˈi-lə-ˌstrā- \

Definition of illustrative

: serving, tending, or designed to illustrate illustrative examples art that is illustrative of provincial life

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Other Words from illustrative

illustratively adverb

Examples of illustrative in a Sentence

an illustrative analogy in which the relationship between God and humanity is likened to that between a shepherd and his flock

Recent Examples on the Web

Pieces of that figure were illustrative, something that was not made crystal clear at the time. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "No more doubts: Two independent studies confirm LIGO’s Nobel discovery," 16 Dec. 2018 And that’s just one crazy but illustrative example. Peter Kafka, Recode, "Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey talked to NYU’s Jay Rosen for an hour, on the record. Read and listen to the full interview here.," 14 Sep. 2018 That pitch during Renfroe’s at-bat in the ninth inning Sunday, which ended in a strikeout, was wholly illustrative of one of the issues with the Padres offense this season. Kevin Acee,, "Padres try to find power balance," 9 July 2018 The fact that this has been the World Cup of the set piece, penalty kick and own goal is illustrative. Brian Straus,, "The Factors and Figures Behind Europe's World Cup Dominance Trend," 8 July 2018 The case of Indian journalist Rana Ayyub is illustrative. Ruby Mellen, Washington Post, "The story must be told.," 28 June 2018 The passage is illustrative of DeKnight’s trademark tone throughout the text: decidedly auntie-like, with equal parts admonition and affirmation. Hannah Giorgis, Bon Appetit, "How Freda DeKnight’s Cookbook, ‘A Date with a Dish’ Inspired Generations of Black Cooks," 19 June 2018 Briffault chronicles 19th century French society through the lens of culinary culture, and translator J. Weintraub does an excellent job of relaying Briffault’s illustrative descriptions for the 21st century reader. Elaheh Nozari, Bon Appetit, "8 Non-Cookbook Food Books to Read This Summer," 11 June 2018 The investigation announced by the Department of Commerce on May 23rd, into whether imports of cars and car parts threaten national security, is illustrative. The Economist, "There is madness, but perhaps also method, in America’s trade policies," 31 May 2018

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

1643, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

6 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for illustrative

The first known use of illustrative was in 1643

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More Definitions for illustrative



English Language Learners Definition of illustrative

: used to illustrate or explain something
: serving as an example of something


il·​lus·​tra·​tive | \ i-ˈlə-strə-tiv \

Kids Definition of illustrative

: serving as an example an illustrative story

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Comments on illustrative

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


very full or close together

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