• synonyms


[il-uh-streyt, ih-luhs-treyt]
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verb (used with object), il·lus·trat·ed, il·lus·trat·ing.
  1. to furnish (a book, magazine, etc.) with drawings, pictures, or other artwork intended for explanation, elucidation, or adornment.
  2. to make clear or intelligible, as by examples or analogies; exemplify.
  3. Archaic. to enlighten.
verb (used without object), il·lus·trat·ed, il·lus·trat·ing.
  1. to clarify one's words, writings, etc., with examples: To prevent misunderstandings, let me illustrate.

Origin of illustrate

1520–30; < Latin illustrātus past participle of illustrāre to illuminate, make clear, give glory to. See il-1, luster1, -ate1
Related formsil·lus·trat·a·ble, adjectiveo·ver·il·lus·trate, verb (used with object), o·ver·il·lus·trat·ed, o·ver·il·lus·trat·ing.pre·il·lus·trate, verb (used with object), pre·il·lus·trat·ed, pre·il·lus·trat·ing.re·il·lus·trate, verb (used with object), re·il·lus·trat·ed, re·il·lus·trat·ing.su·per·il·lus·trate, verb (used with object), su·per·il·lus·trat·ed, su·per·il·lus·trat·ing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for reillustrate


  1. to clarify or explain by use of examples, analogy, etc
  2. (tr) to be an example or demonstration of
  3. (tr) to explain or decorate (a book, text, etc) with pictures
  4. (tr) an archaic word for enlighten
Derived Formsillustratable, adjectiveillustrative, adjectiveillustratively, adverbillustrator, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin illustrāre to make light, explain, from lustrāre to purify, brighten; see lustrum
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 reillustrate



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper