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

The pictures are quite similar to the series of portraits Will and Kate released of Prince Louis for his 1st birthday in April, and illustrate Kate's growing skills behind the camera. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton and Prince William Just Released Three New Photos of Princess Charlotte in Honor of Her 4th Birthday," 1 May 2019 The Eternals is based on the eponymous comics written and illustrated by Jack Kirby, which first launched in 1976. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Angelina Jolie Could Be Starring in a Marvel Superhero Movie," 28 Mar. 2019 Sambo, meanwhile, is a character in the 1899 children’s book The Story of Little Black Sambo, written and illustrated by Scottish author Helen Bannerman. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Prada pulled a collection of figurines that drew comparisons to anti-black caricatures," 14 Dec. 2018 The disparity is best illustrated by the fact that, after less than half a day of orders, every single tier of iPhone XS available right now has a September 28th to October 5th shipping window. Nick Statt, The Verge, "The Apple Watch stole the show from this year’s new iPhones," 15 Sep. 2018 The issue is credited as being written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Steve Ditko, a legendary, mercurial artist who worked at Marvel Comics for roughly a decade starting in the mid-1950s. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Steve Ditko’s Ordinary People," 10 July 2018 All of these chapters are richly illustrated with images mostly pulled from the Anchorage Museum. Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage Museum takes a broad look at northern life in ‘North: Finding Place in Alaska’," 10 June 2018 That was clearly illustrated when fans decided to climb various poles and light fixtures around town to celebrate the Eagles’ Super Bowl and playoff wins, despite repeatedly having been told not do so. Stephanie Farr, Philly.com, "5 reasons Trump should fear how Eagles fans might respond to canceled White House visit," 5 June 2018 Both camps contain multitudes, but the sense of division in German politics was illustrated on May 28th, when the most convinced wings of both came onto the streets of Berlin to demonstrate. The Economist, "The legacy of Germany’s student protests in 1968," 31 May 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

24 May 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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