il·​lus·​tra·​tive | \ i-ˈlə-strə-tiv How to pronounce illustrative (audio) also ˈi-lə-ˌstrā- How to pronounce illustrative (audio) \

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

In addition to describing their own, successful efforts to subvert the yacht's GPS navigation system, the authors give an excellent illustrative example of just how badly too much trust in automated navigation systems can go wrong. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Claims of Tesla hack wide of the mark—we dig into GNSS hacking," 22 June 2019 Here’s an illustrative story: Some years ago, a trio of shoplifters was operating at an upscale department store near my home in Silver Spring, Md. Robert L. Woodson Sr., WSJ, "Starbucks Is Not the Next Selma," 29 Apr. 2018 But these bits of background have the paradoxical effect of seeming both too short and too long—too substantial to be merely illustrative, too evocative of a wide range of experiences to be plugged in as background. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Rolling Thunder Revue,” Reviewed: Martin Scorsese’s Slippery Chronicle of Bob Dylan in Concert," 14 June 2019 Gibson is credited with reimagining the modern photo book, transforming it from its more illustrative, thematic approach to a deeply personal, artistic form where the sequence is based on free association rather than chronology or narrative. The New York Review of Books, "Carole Naggar," 25 May 2019 In an illustrative moment, Trump didn’t have a good response for that question either. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "White House’s new press rules will make it harder for reporters to hold Trump accountable," 20 Nov. 2018 The death of a 21-year-old man, outlined in medical examiner reports and court records, is especially illustrative. John Keilman,, "Giving addicted inmates opioid meds behind bars can reduce overdose deaths. Why don't more jails use them?," 6 July 2018 Three versions are here, alongside a similar, very illustrative engraving by Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio. Christopher Knight,, "Out of the shadows and into the light: 'Chiaroscuro Woodcut' is a sleeper hit at LACMA," 5 July 2018 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

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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Statistics for illustrative

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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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 How to pronounce illustrative (audio) \

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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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