the Enlightenment


: a movement of the 18th century that stressed the belief that science and logic give people more knowledge and understanding than tradition and religion

Examples of the Enlightenment in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The pictures ranged from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Ian Malone, Vogue, 21 Sep. 2023 During the Enlightenment, from the 1600s to the 1700s, religious institutions began losing power. Armin Langer, The Conversation, 29 Aug. 2023 As Dostoyevsky saw it, the state should serve as the guardian of the country’s special path and revive the system of universal Christian morality that had preceded the Enlightenment—values that reigned before Europeans became obsessed with ideas of progress, freedom, and individual rights. Andrei Kolesnikov, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 Detractors on both the left and the right tend to sketch the same caricature of the prototypical liberal: a chipper rationalist who is scornfully secular, naively sanguine about humanity’s prospects for self-improvement and devoted to the philosophy of the Enlightenment. Becca Rothfeld, Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2023 But rather the Enlightenment approach—incentivizing the smartest members of civilization to keep an eye on each other, on our behalf. WIRED, 6 July 2023 Saker received the Enlightenment Award from the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Foundation for her coverage of youth suicide following the January 2017 death of 8-year-old Gabriel Taye. Erin Couch, The Enquirer, 22 June 2023 Her husband’s indecision on key issues, new democratic ideals linked to the Enlightenment, inequitable taxation, poor harvests and countless other factors contributed to the crisis, which started with the convening of the Estates General, an assembly of France’s three social classes, in May 1789. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Mar. 2023 The Resurgence of Intellectual Life From the End of Antiquity to the Dawn of the Enlightenment, by Charles Freeman. New York Times, 22 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'the Enlightenment.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Dictionary Entries Near the Enlightenment

Cite this Entry

“The Enlightenment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!