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[en-lahyt-n] /ɛnˈlaɪt n/
verb (used with object)
to give intellectual or spiritual light to; instruct; impart knowledge to:
We hope the results of our research will enlighten our colleagues.
Archaic. to shed light upon.
Origin of enlighten
1350-1400; Middle English enli(g)htenen. See en-1, lighten1
Related forms
enlightenedly, adverb
enlightenedness, noun
enlightener, noun
enlighteningly, adverb
nonenlightened, adjective
nonenlightening, adjective
preenlighten, verb (used with object)
preenlightener, noun
reenlighten, verb (used with object)
unenlightened, adjective
unenlightening, adjective
well-enlightened, adjective
1. illumine, edify, teach, inform.
1. mystify, confuse, perplex, puzzle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for enlightened
  • But there's no harm in some enlightened and educated guessing.
  • Thanks for all of these conflicting and enlightened arguments.
  • Now you're no more enlightened and facing late fees from two places.
  • More awards to individuals who have in one way or another enlightened the public were announced yesterday.
  • They are not enlightened new procedures for protecting students from crime.
  • The benefits to guests of synchronizing some of the ratings would be immediate, because travelers would be enlightened.
  • All enlightened cultures respect education and the freedom of information that goes with it.
  • It was not a gimmick at all, but an enlightened fix.
  • Perhaps it's pride of place, or plain old enlightened self-interest.
  • We are not producing an enlightened and engaged citizenry.
British Dictionary definitions for enlightened


factually well-informed, tolerant of alternative opinions, and guided by rational thought: an enlightened administration, enlightened self-interest
privy to or claiming a sense of spiritual or religious revelation of truth: the search for an enlightened spiritual master


verb (transitive)
to give information or understanding to; instruct; edify
to free from ignorance, prejudice, or superstition
to give spiritual or religious revelation to
(poetic) to shed light on
Derived Forms
enlightener, noun
enlightening, 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
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Word Origin and History for enlightened

1630s, "illuminated;" 1660s in the sense "well-informed;" past participle adjective from enlighten.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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