- to furnish (a book, magazine, etc.) with drawings, pictures, or other artwork intended for explanation, elucidation, or adornment.
- to make clear or intelligible, as by examples or analogies; exemplify.
- Archaic. to enlighten.
- to clarify one's words, writings, etc., with examples: To prevent misunderstandings, let me illustrate.
Origin of illustrate
Examples from the Web for illustrate
This video, courtesy of BuzzFeed, helps to illustrate this phenomenon.What Is Privilege?
The Daily Beast Video
December 11, 2014
This is likely a lowball number but it has the merit to illustrate the tradeoff that raising the minimum wage requires.How a GOP Senate Can Help the Poor
Veronique de Rugy
November 23, 2014
His maquettes, or models, illustrate this, too, in their budding materiality.Frank Gehry Is Architecture’s Mad Genius
October 27, 2014
As if to illustrate the rampant sexism that still exists, hackers threatened to release nude photos of her after her speech.The Gender-Pay Gap: It’s Real, and Yes, It’s Sexism
September 27, 2014
Humor and historical distance allow me to illustrate how a quack operates in a way that I could not with a contemporary example.The Strange, True Tale of the Old-Timey Goat Testicle-Implanting 'Governor'
September 16, 2014
For instance, take a concrete case; so best can we illustrate.'Tis Sixty Years Since
Charles Francis Adams
Let me illustrate this broad statement with reference to the subject of fears alone.The Conquest of Fear
The campaigns of Napoleon, with their atmosphere of glory, illustrate this.A Treatise on Parents and Children
George Bernard Shaw
A bird remarkable for the catholicity of its appetite and serving to illustrate that of ours.The Devil's Dictionary
I do it for a rather singular reason, which I will illustrate by a parallel.Alarms and Discursions
G. K. Chesterton
- to clarify or explain by use of examples, analogy, etc
- (tr) to be an example or demonstration of
- (tr) to explain or decorate (a book, text, etc) with pictures
- (tr) an archaic word for enlighten
Word Origin and History for illustrate
1520s, "light up, shed light on;" 1610s, "educate by means of examples," back-formation from illustration, and in some cases from Latin illustratus, past participle of illustrare (see illustration). Sense of "provide pictures to explain or decorate" is 1630s. Related: Illustrated; illustrating.