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enlighten

[en-lahyt-n]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to give intellectual or spiritual light to; instruct; impart knowledge to: We hope the results of our research will enlighten our colleagues.
  2. Archaic. to shed light upon.
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Origin of enlighten

First recorded in 1350–1400, enlighten is from the Middle English word enli(g)htenen. See en-1, lighten1
Related formsen·light·ened·ly, adverben·light·ened·ness, nounen·light·en·er, nounen·light·en·ing·ly, adverbnon·en·light·ened, adjectivenon·en·light·en·ing, adjectivepre·en·light·en, verb (used with object)pre·en·light·en·er, nounre·en·light·en, verb (used with object)un·en·light·ened, adjectiveun·en·light·en·ing, adjectivewell-en·light·ened, adjective

Synonyms

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Antonyms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

uninformedunlearned

Examples from the Web for unenlightened

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • An unenlightened person who thinks one country better than another.

  • And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened:—Behold!

  • The problem of Good has bothered the unenlightened for ages.

  • The enemies of France, and those who, all unenlightened, attack the Church.

  • There, he said to himself, sat a stubborn and unenlightened man.

    Gladiator

    Philip Wylie


British Dictionary definitions for unenlightened

unenlightened

adjective
  1. not well-informed, tolerant, or rationala most backward, unenlightened nation
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enlighten

verb (tr)
  1. to give information or understanding to; instruct; edify
  2. to free from ignorance, prejudice, or superstition
  3. to give spiritual or religious revelation to
  4. poetic to shed light on
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Derived Formsenlightener, nounenlightening, adjective
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 unenlightened

adj.

1660s, "not lit up," from un- (1) "not" + past participle of enlighten. Meaning "not mentally illuminated" is attested from 1650s.

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enlighten

v.

late 14c., "to remove the dimness or blindness (usually figurative) from one's eyes or heart;" see en- (1) + lighten. Old English had inlihtan. Related: Enlightened; enlightening.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper