illustrate

verb
il·​lus·​trate | \ ˈi-lə-ˌstrāt also i-ˈlə- How to pronounce illustrate (audio) \
illustrated; illustrating

Definition of illustrate

transitive verb

1a : to provide with visual features intended to explain or decorate illustrate a book
b : to make clear by giving or by serving as an example or instance
c : to make clear : clarify
2 : to show clearly : demonstrate

3 obsolete

a : enlighten
b : to light up
4a archaic : to make illustrious

b obsolete

(1) : to make bright
(2) : adorn

intransitive verb

: to give an example or instance

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Other Words from illustrate

illustrator \ ˈi-​lə-​ˌstrā-​tər How to pronounce illustrator (audio) also  i-​ˈlə-​ \ noun

Synonyms for illustrate

Synonyms

demonstrate, exemplify, instance

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Examples of illustrate in a Sentence

He illustrated his lecture with stories of his own experiences in the field. Please give a few examples to illustrate your point. The results illustrate how important it is to wear your seatbelt. The students will write and illustrate their own stories.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Lede image: Background images and foreground (right) from The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana, illustrated by Victo Ngai, 2018. Elise Peterson, Glamour, "The Kama Sutra Gets a Feminist Makeover," 17 July 2018 Fronting Women Wear Daily's annual Beauty Inc. issue, the eldest West child illustrates a story about the next generation of beauty influencers: toddlers. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "North West, Age Five, Stars On Her First Solo Magazine Cover," 22 Feb. 2019 In the first, Sontag plays the role of the ghost of camp’s past [to illustrate] both its etymological and phenomenological origins. Luke Leitch, Vogue, "“From Sun Kings to Drag Queens:” Alessandro Michele, Anna Wintour, and Andrew Bolton Set Up Camp in Milan," 22 Feb. 2019 One case illustrates the difficulties: The R&B star’s own 2008 trial at which he was acquitted. Michael Tarm, The Seattle Times, "Legal hurdles would look familiar in any new R. Kelly case," 20 Feb. 2019 Trump’s statement illustrates a vulnerability all wealth list compilers face. Jonathan Greenberg, Town & Country, "How to Get a Spot Among the Billionaires on the Forbes 400 List," 15 Jan. 2019 The mattress company’s rise illustrates the current staying power of digital direct-to-consumer brands, but this year Casper also tested the limits of retail by selling the unthinkable: sleep itself. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "A breakdown of this year’s brand winners and losers.," 27 Dec. 2018 The incident, beyond being highly embarrassing to Hoffman, illustrates a bigger problem as Silicon Valley’s billionaires increasingly try to play political investor. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Reid Hoffman is learning an early rule of being a megadonor: It’s hard to keep track of your money," 26 Dec. 2018 The situation illustrates the difficulty for companies closely tied to a single person, and that Papa John's may need to distance itself further from Schnatter after dealing with backlashes brought about by his comments. Candice Choi, chicagotribune.com, "Papa John is gone, but his image is still entwined with pizza chain," 12 July 2018

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

1526, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

History and Etymology for illustrate

Latin illustratus, past participle of illustrare, from in- + lustrare to purify, make bright — more at luster

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Statistics for illustrate

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for illustrate

The first known use of illustrate was in 1526

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More Definitions for illustrate

illustrate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of illustrate

: to give examples in order to make (something) easier to understand
: to be proof or evidence of (something)
: to explain or decorate a story, book, etc., with pictures

illustrate

verb
il·​lus·​trate | \ ˈi-lə-ˌstrāt How to pronounce illustrate (audio) \
illustrated; illustrating

Kids Definition of illustrate

1 : to supply with pictures or diagrams meant to explain or decorate illustrate a book
2 : to make clear by using examples She illustrated her point with stories.
3 : to serve as an example The results illustrate the need for planning.

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Comments on illustrate

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

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to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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