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Supposedly vs. Supposably


[il-uh-strey-shuh n] /ˌɪl əˈstreɪ ʃən/
something that illustrates, as a picture in a book or magazine.
a comparison or an example intended for explanation or corroboration.
the act or process of illuminating.
the act of clarifying or explaining; elucidation.
Archaic. illustriousness; distinction.
Origin of illustration
1325-75; Middle English < Latin illustrātiōn- (stem of illustrātiō) the act of making vivid, illustrating. See illustrate, -ion
Related forms
nonillustration, noun
overillustration, noun
preillustration, noun
reillustration, noun
superillustration, noun
2. explication. See case1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for illustration
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Let me take two or three simple instances by way of illustration.

  • He had for years been writing of family and social duties; here was his illustration!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Allowance should be made for this illusion in comparing fruit with illustration.

    The Grapes of New York U. P. Hedrick
  • A glance at the illustration will make this plain, and also show how the wires are to be placed.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • Page 561: reference to illustration of roughly reconstructed Gallic reaper: this illustration is not present in the original work.

British Dictionary definitions for illustration


pictorial matter used to explain or decorate a text
an example or demonstration: an illustration of his ability
the act of illustrating or the state of being illustrated
Derived Forms
illustrational, 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 illustration

c.1400, "a shining;" early 15c., "a manifestation;" mid-15c., "a spiritual illumination," from Old French illustration "apparition, appearance," and directly from Latin illustrationem (nominative illustratio) "vivid representation" (in writing), literally "an enlightening," from past participle stem of illustrare "light up, make light, illuminate;" figuratively "make clear, disclose, explain; adorn, render distinguished," from assimilated form of in- "in" (see in- (2)) + lustrare "make bright, illuminate," related to lucere "shine," lux "light" (see light (n.)). Mental sense of "act of making clear in the mind" is from 1580s. Meaning "an illustrative picture" is from 1816.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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