- 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 for illuminate on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for illuminates
We hope our film Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq illuminates the exceptional qualities of Tanny in dance and in life.The Tragic Downfall of Tanaquil Le Clercq, Ballet’s Greatest Muse
February 3, 2014
It irritates more than illuminates, partly because the characters and their motivations are all too familiar, almost typical.This Week’s Hot Reads: November 4, 2013
November 4, 2013
In this important volume, Jacoby illuminates a mind worth celebrating and the story of a life well lived.This Week’s Hot Reads: Jan. 7, 2013
January 7, 2013
A new book by Irshad Manji illuminates the path of hope—offering faithful dissent against a suffocating orthodoxy.Islam’s Civil War
September 13, 2011
The spotlight of fabulousness which illuminates Charlene rarely rests on Albert.Monaco Princess's Gilded Cage
July 2, 2011
The bare thought of the coming Paradise illuminates their dirty visages.Ireland as It Is
Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
It brings the learner into direct contact with life and often illuminates the past.College Teaching
Itself a mere point of light, it dominates and illuminates all time.A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1
A golden glow, mingled with deep shades of purple, illuminates the sky.The Land of Thor
J. Ross Browne
These fiery orbs are suns like that which illuminates ourselves.Astronomy for Amateurs
- (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 illuminates
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.