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enlighten

[en-lahyt-n]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to give intellectual or spiritual light to; instruct; impart knowledge to: We hope the results of our research will enlighten our colleagues.
  2. Archaic. to shed light upon.

Origin of enlighten

First recorded in 1350–1400, enlighten is from the Middle English word enli(g)htenen. See en-1, lighten1
Related formsen·light·ened·ly, adverben·light·ened·ness, nounen·light·en·er, nounen·light·en·ing·ly, adverbnon·en·light·ened, adjectivenon·en·light·en·ing, adjectivepre·en·light·en, verb (used with object)pre·en·light·en·er, nounre·en·light·en, verb (used with object)un·en·light·ened, adjectiveun·en·light·en·ing, adjectivewell-en·light·ened, adjective

Synonyms

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1. illumine, edify, teach, inform.

Antonyms

1. mystify, confuse, perplex, puzzle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for enlightened

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Listening to her I was no longer the enlightened, the creedless man.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • Called "trousers" by the enlightened and "pants" by the unworthy.

  • Such were the remarks of my amiable and enlightened father-in-law!

  • He possessed a soul brave, liberal, enlightened, and ingenuous.

  • Her liberal principles and her enlightened views are acknowledged by all.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli


British Dictionary definitions for enlightened

enlightened

adjective
  1. factually well-informed, tolerant of alternative opinions, and guided by rational thoughtan enlightened administration; enlightened self-interest
  2. privy to or claiming a sense of spiritual or religious revelation of truththe search for an enlightened spiritual master

enlighten

verb (tr)
  1. to give information or understanding to; instruct; edify
  2. to free from ignorance, prejudice, or superstition
  3. to give spiritual or religious revelation to
  4. poetic to shed light on
Derived Formsenlightener, nounenlightening, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for enlightened

adj.

1630s, "illuminated;" 1660s in the sense "well-informed;" past participle adjective from enlighten.

enlighten

v.

late 14c., "to remove the dimness or blindness (usually figurative) from one's eyes or heart;" see en- (1) + lighten. Old English had inlihtan. Related: Enlightened; enlightening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper