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[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 illustrations
  • The book is set up with plant illustrations on the right.
  • Lots of quirky restaurant-biz reflections, with fun comic-book illustrations.
  • Following are illustrations showing standard ad sizes, along with their dimensions.
  • The duties listed in this job description are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed.
  • Dynamic photography, video and illustrations help tell the stories of discovery.
  • If they want to get some background information from a text book or add some illustrations off the net, fine.
  • It is also a good idea to use specific examples as illustrations of your good qualities.
  • To help readers figure out their own likelihood of being incinerated, the paper carried helpful illustrations.
  • Their personal narratives have to work as extended examples, as illustrations that support a claim.
  • The illustrations are demagoguery and are unbecoming to a serious publication.
British Dictionary definitions for illustrations


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 illustrations



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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