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

Other Words from illustrate

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

Synonyms for illustrate


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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.
Recent Examples on the Web The magazine’s white photographers would not venture into the chaos uptown, and no Black artists were on staff to illustrate the impending story. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2022 Working with editors Erin Casper and Jocelyne Chaput, Dosa harnesses the volcano footage's anthropomorphic qualities to illustrate the Krafft's relationship with each other and their subjects. Henry Hullah, CNN, 28 July 2022 An admissions official from a prestigious law school used a file from a past applicant (with identifying information removed) to illustrate the review process. Paul Sracic, WSJ, 24 July 2022 One way to illustrate these results is to plot something called the z-value, which is a statistical measure of the strength of an effect. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, 22 July 2022 The National Bobblehead Museum produced a bobblehead of his likeness in 2016, and his sister once tried to produce a documentary on his life, looking to illustrate how an adult with autism can affect an entire city. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 21 July 2022 Lead author and psychologist Anthony Mancini of Pace University, New York cites the example of the Virginia Tech campus shootings, which inspired his research, to illustrate this concept. Mark Travers, Forbes, 15 July 2022 Soon after, the girl was sitting in a highchair with her eyes closed as the same woman who had painted her face for the last decade held her hair back and gently applied paint and glitter around her left eye to illustrate blue peacock feathers. oregonlive, 15 July 2022 So there's a story to illustrate the cascade of a stress concentration causing pain and worse even in a simple example of laying in bed. Greg Presto, Men's Health, 14 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for illustrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of illustrate was in 1526

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Statistics for illustrate

Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Illustrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for illustrate


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on illustrate

Nglish: Translation of illustrate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of illustrate for Arabic Speakers


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