Synonyms of illustration

1 something that visually explains or decorates a text
  • this book on birds has gorgeous illustrations

Synonyms for illustration

Words Related to illustration

3 a two-dimensional design intended to look like a person or thing
  • the doctor sketched an illustration to explain the procedure to the patient

Synonyms for illustration

Words Related to illustration

4 one of a group or collection that shows what the whole is like
  • chose one essay as an illustration of the high quality of the collection

Synonyms for illustration

Words Related to illustration

Phrases Synonymous with illustration

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Frequently Asked Questions About illustration

How is the word illustration distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of illustration are case, example, instance, sample, and specimen. While all these words mean "something that exhibits distinguishing characteristics in its category," illustration applies to an instance offered as a means of clarifying or illuminating a general statement.

a telling illustration of Murphy's Law

Where would case be a reasonable alternative to illustration?

The meanings of case and illustration largely overlap; however, case is used to direct attention to a real or assumed occurrence or situation that is to be considered, studied, or dealt with.

a case of mistaken identity

When could example be used to replace illustration?

In some situations, the words example and illustration are roughly equivalent. However, example applies to a typical, representative, or illustrative instance or case.

a typical example of bureaucratic waste

When would instance be a good substitute for illustration?

While the synonyms instance and illustration are close in meaning, instance applies to any individual person, act, or thing that may be offered to illustrate or explain.

an instance of history repeating itself

In what contexts can sample take the place of illustration?

The words sample and illustration can be used in similar contexts, but sample implies a part or unit taken at random from a larger whole and so presumed to be typical of its qualities.

show us a sample of your work

When might specimen be a better fit than illustration?

While in some cases nearly identical to illustration, specimen applies to any example or sample whether representative or merely existent and available.

one of the finest specimens of the jeweler's art

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Time Traveler for illustration

Time Traveler

The first known use of illustration was in the 14th century

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Thesaurus Entries Near illustration




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Cite this Entry

“Illustration.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on illustration

Nglish: Translation of illustration for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of illustration for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about illustration


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