One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A member of any of several Christian groups active in Spain (or its colonies) in the 16th and 17th centuries, and accused of heresy by the Spanish Inquisition; specifically (a) a movement active in the 16th cent. which challenged the authority of the Church in various matters, particularly by emphasizing direct communion with God; (b) a group of perfectionists or antinomians active in the 17th cent. Also in extended use: a person who makes a (false) claim to spiritual enlightenment.
Early 17th century. From Spanish alumbrado, use as noun of alumbrado illuminated, enlightened; past participle of alumbrar.
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