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. a person who is or affects to be specially enlightened.
- il·lu·mi·nat·ing·ly, adverb
- pre·il·lu·mi·nate, verb (used with object)
- re·il·lu·mi·nate, verb, re·il·lu·mi·nat·ed, re·il·lu·mi·nat·ing.
- sem·i-il·lu·mi·nat·ed, adjective
- un·il·lu·mi·nat·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use illuminate in a sentence
It is illuminating to see Glenn in the America of 1968, a very different place from the one that made him famous, campaigning for Bobby Kennedy on a civil rights platform.
Historically minded visitors to Rome as well as Roman-history enthusiasts will appreciate the erudition and context with which he illuminates one of the great stories — and personalities — of the ancient world.
Miard and Lacomme switched on their red-light head lamps to illuminate the treetops.On a cool night in Malaysia, scientists track mysterious colugos across the treetops | Yao-Hua Law | November 20, 2020 | Science News
On select weekdays, a different fashion or entertainment personality will push the button that illuminates the facade, the retail version of ringing the bell on the New York Stock Exchange.NYC for the holidays: The city’s classic traditions have been tweaked for the times | Andrea Sachs | November 19, 2020 | Washington Post
“A Burning,” by Megha MajumdarA riveting debut that illuminates three intertwined lives in contemporary India, including a woman whose offhand social media post prompts the government to pin a terrorist attack on her.
When my oldest child was a toddler, I treated illuminated screens like plutonium.Yes, Your Toddler Can Watch TV: The New Rules for Screen Time | Russell Saunders | December 26, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
They shared their struggles and triumphs, and illuminated the frontlines of the fight for equality.A Quorum For Change: The Fight For Global LGBT Equality | Justin Jones | December 11, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The library in Williamsburg itself is illuminated with antique filament bulbs and everything inside is of the past or a nod to it.
A moment ago the drawing-room had seemed empty; Mrs. Luke, in her sole person, filled and illuminated it.
And, as the documentary illuminated, she worked, worked, worked—even if it meant going to the back-of-beyond venues.
In the evening, St. Peter's and its accessories were illuminated—by far the most brilliant spectacle I ever saw.Glances at Europe | Horace Greeley
Liszt was seated at another grand facing me, and the room was dimly illuminated by one or two lamps.Music-Study in Germany | Amy Fay
In the evening the little theatre is illuminated regardless of expense, a fabulous sum being expended on extra lamps.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3) | Charles James Wills
The light of education and culture has shone full on every face and illuminated it into all that it might be.The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice | Stephen Leacock
He knew his cousin, and he had the sensation that an illuminated scroll of fate dangled before his eyes.Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
British Dictionary definitions for illuminate
(tr) to throw light in or into; light up: to 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
- illuminative, adjective
- illuminator, noun
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