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[il-uh-streyt, ih-luhs-treyt] /ˈɪl əˌstreɪt, ɪˈlʌs treɪt/
verb (used with object), illustrated, illustrating.
to furnish (a book, magazine, etc.) with drawings, pictures, or other artwork intended for explanation, elucidation, or adornment.
to make clear or intelligible, as by examples or analogies; exemplify.
Archaic. to enlighten.
verb (used without object), illustrated, illustrating.
to clarify one's words, writings, etc., with examples:
To prevent misunderstandings, let me illustrate.
1520-30; < Latin illustrātus past participle of illustrāre to illuminate, make clear, give glory to. See il-1, luster1, -ate1
Related forms
illustratable, adjective
overillustrate, verb (used with object), overillustrated, overillustrating.
preillustrate, verb (used with object), preillustrated, preillustrating.
reillustrate, verb (used with object), reillustrated, reillustrating.
superillustrate, verb (used with object), superillustrated, superillustrating. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for illustrates
  • But it also illustrates my favorite way of experiencing garden art.
  • She illustrates the fragile but enduring relationship between people and the ocean.
  • He is an exceptional writer as even this blog illustrates.
  • The other story also illustrates an unexpected gift of repartee.
  • His plan of composition illustrates his careful method.
  • Nothing so much illustrates this mercy as the wretched degeneracy into which the subjects of it were fallen.
  • The following example illustrates a rather serious case of self-betrayal through a mistake in talking.
  • Writer illustrates with three drawings the different ways that people looked at history.
  • Submit a photograph that best illustrates college to you.
  • In this lesson, students will design a memorial that illustrates the legacy of the expedition from a geographic perspective.
British Dictionary definitions for illustrates


to clarify or explain by use of examples, analogy, etc
(transitive) to be an example or demonstration of
(transitive) to explain or decorate (a book, text, etc) with pictures
(transitive) an archaic word for enlighten
Derived Forms
illustratable, adjective
illustrative, adjective
illustratively, adverb
illustrator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin illustrāre to make light, explain, from lustrāre to purify, brighten; see lustrum
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 illustrates



1520s, "light up, shed light on;" 1610s, "educate by means of examples," back-formation from illustration, and in some cases from Latin illustratus, past participle of illustrare (see illustration). Sense of "provide pictures to explain or decorate" is 1630s. Related: Illustrated; illustrating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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