- to supply or brighten with light; light up.
- to make lucid or clear; throw light on (a subject).
- to decorate with lights, as in celebration.
- to enlighten, as with knowledge.
- to make resplendent or illustrious: A smile illuminated her face.
- to decorate (a manuscript, book, etc.) with colors and gold or silver, as was often done in the Middle Ages.
- to display lights, as in celebration.
- to become illuminated.
- Archaic. illuminated.
- Obsolete. enlightened.
- Archaic. a person who is or affects to be specially enlightened.
Origin of illuminate
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for illuminate
These numbers portend to illuminate society-threatening failures within the current immigration enforcement system.Inside The Center For Immigration Studies, The Immigration False-Fact Think Tank
May 15, 2014
Reading them will illuminate your own life and make it better.What Sebastian Junger, Susan Orlean, and Others Are Reading This Fall
November 7, 2013
Dispensing with some of the objections helps to illuminate this case.The Case For Cutting Off Aid to Egypt
July 11, 2013
She has chosen to share her story in order to illuminate the endemic problem of sexual violence in India.
Activists with flashlights should illuminate “vampires—foreign agents.”Russia Uses ‘Foreign Agent’ Ruse to Crack Down on Memorial & Other NGOs
November 24, 2012
John groped vainly in mental depths for other experiences likely to illuminate this.Tiverton Tales
London was beginning to illuminate herself against the night.Howards End
E. M. Forster
Not a dozen houses responded to the préfet's invitation to illuminate.
It was a sky the sun did not illuminate or enkindle, as is usual at sunsets.A Pair of Blue Eyes
Could you not illuminate that motto, Livy, 'Manners makyth man?'Doctor Luttrell's First Patient
Rosa Nouchette Carey
- (tr) to throw light in or into; light upto illuminate a room
- (tr) to make easily understood; clarify
- to adorn, decorate, or be decorated with lights
- (tr) to decorate (a letter, page, etc) by the application of colours, gold, or silver
- (intr) to become lighted up
- archaic made clear or bright with light; illuminated
- a person who has or claims to have special enlightenment
Word Origin and History for illuminate
c.1500, "to light up, shine on," a back-formation from illumination, or else from Latin illuminatus, past participle of illuminare (see illumination). Earlier was enlumyen (late 14c.) "decorate written material with gold, silver, bright colors," from Old French enluminer, from Late Latin inluminare; also illumine (late 14c.). Related: Illuminated; illuminating.