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Origin of illumine

1300–50; Middle English illuminen < Latin illūmināre to light up, equivalent to il- il-1 + lūmin- (stem of lūmen) light + -ā- thematic vowel + -re infinitive suffix
Related formsil·lu·mi·na·ble, adjectiveself-il·lu·mined, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for illumine

light, irradiate, illuminate, brighten, clarify, interpret, elucidate

Examples from the Web for illumine

Historical Examples of illumine

  • Again I am told the host managed to illumine his refusal with a smile.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Rome, immense and dominated by a battle of clouds, seemed to illumine the sky.

    The Child of Pleasure

    Gabriele D'Annunzio

  • His disc was of a lurid red,—a colour appropriate to the spectacle it was to illumine.

    The Ocean Waifs

    Mayne Reid

  • If this can illumine the obscurity, it will all be on the positive side of the inquiry.

    Moon Lore

    Timothy Harley

  • The sun shone on Chepe; he only asked that it should illumine the page he read.


    William Makepeace Thackeray

British Dictionary definitions for illumine


  1. a literary word for illuminate
Derived Formsilluminable, adjective

Word Origin for illumine

C14: from Latin illūmināre to make light; see illuminate
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 illumine

late 14c., "to enlighten spiritually;" mid-15c., "to light up, shine light on," from Old French illuminer, from Latin illuminare (see illumination). Related: illumined.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper