A house illuminated at night.
- When you turn on a light, this is an example of a situation where you illuminate a room.
- When you decorate your house for Christmas, this is an example of a situation where you illuminate a house.
- When you give a simple explanation to help someone understand an issue, this is an example of a situation where the explanation illuminates the issue.
transitive verb-·nat·ed, -·nat·ing
- to give light to; light up
- to brighten; animate
- to make clear; explain; elucidate
- to inform; instruct; enlighten
- to make illustrious, glorious, or famous
- to decorate with lights
- to decorate (an initial letter or word) with designs, tracings, etc. of gold, silver, or bright colors
- to decorate (a manuscript, page border, etc.) with such initial letters, miniature pictures, etc.
Origin of illuminatefrom Classical Latin illuminatus, past participle of illuminare, to light up from in-, in + luminare, to light from lumen (gen. luminis), a light from Indo-European an unverified form leuksmen from base an unverified form leuk-: see illustrate
- made bright with light
- enlightened in mind or spirit
transitive verbil·lu·mi·nat·ed, il·lu·mi·nat·ing, il·lu·mi·nates
- To provide or brighten with light.
- To decorate or hang with lights.
- a. To make understandable; clarify: “Cleverly made attacks can … serve to illuminate important differences between candidates” ( New Republic )b. To enlighten intellectually or spiritually; enable to understand: “I greatly misdoubt the accuracy of this … Can you illuminate me?” ( Charles Darwin )
- To adorn (a page of a book, for example) with ornamental designs, images, or lettering in brilliant colors or precious metals.
- To expose to or reveal by radiation.
Origin of illuminateMiddle English illuminaten from Latin illūmināre illūmināt- in- in ; see in- 2. lūmināre to light up ( from lūmen lūmin- light ; see leuk- in Indo-European roots.)
(third-person singular simple present illuminates, present participle illuminating, simple past and past participle illuminated)
- Someone thought to have an unusual degree of enlightenment.
(comparative more illuminate, superlative most illuminate)
- (obsolete) enlightened