Definition of illumination in English:



  • 1mass noun Lighting or light.

    ‘higher levels of illumination are needed for reading’
    • ‘General or background lighting provides an overall level of illumination when natural light levels are low.’
    • ‘Above our table were small, hanging lights whose subtle illumination was overpowered by the streetlights, a reminder of the restaurant's location.’
    • ‘This crosswalk provides for push button activated flashing yellow hazard lights and illumination of the crosswalk area.’
    • ‘It meant going miles out, in heavy swells; it meant shooting in the pre-dawn gloom with only harbour lights for illumination.’
    • ‘I rarely venture into the fridge before work, and when I get home, the kitchen light provides ample illumination.’
    • ‘The most amazing thing about it is that you get about 12 times the battery life of a light putting out comparable illumination.’
    • ‘An entire show had been cancelled and the theatre hall spruced up with translucent blue illumination and coloured-halogen lights that danced to the music on smoke screens.’
    • ‘The lighting that is currently in place is extremely poor, with only six lights providing dim illumination inside the subway.’
    • ‘She performed on a bare stage with minimal props; only fairly late in her career did she employ lighting effects beyond mere illumination.’
    • ‘The basement was dank and dark with no windows and only a few strategically placed fluorescent lights for illumination.’
    • ‘A third of the light generated by street illumination goes straight upwards, which is a terrible waste and of no benefit to anybody.’
    • ‘The use of blue light in this experiment is important because white light illumination caused significant heating artifacts.’
    • ‘Where access is not too long and difficult, battery packs like those used for video lights can provide excellent illumination.’
    • ‘The headlamps' illumination was the first light this pitch-black place had known in decades, possibly centuries.’
    • ‘Soft lighting provides much better illumination - witness how much darker a road is when full of cars with headlights switched on compared with a road with just amber street lights.’
    • ‘They crawled down the crawlway; the inside cold and dark; only a few dim lights providing illumination.’
    • ‘This list includes the brushed metal-look instrument panel trim, ambient foot lights, and welcome illumination.’
    • ‘It comes equipped with transmitted and reflected light illumination.’
    • ‘Last night, creeping along in the dark, with no illumination but the lights of the vehicles, I could see little.’
    • ‘In the end, the driver crawled along until he could get into a lay-by using only his indicator light for illumination, and used his own mobile to call the police.’
    light, lighting, radiance, gleam, glitter, brilliance, glow, glare, dazzle, flash, shimmer
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    1. 1.1illuminations Lights used in decorating a building or other structure.
      • ‘From ice lanterns, people evolved ever more elaborate ice sculpture decorated with colourful illuminations.’
      • ‘Behind her, there was another torch lit and another, until the great room itself was filled with lights and illuminations to bewilder even the lavished of all Romans.’
      • ‘Still, the serial light illuminations that made the nights more cheerful during the past few days told their own story.’
      • ‘Now the illuminations were lights put onto the buildings, and they actually detail it, it's a changeover in the technology again.’
      • ‘I said imagining her putting on her best frock and heading for the bright lights that is Blackpool illuminations.’
      • ‘Street lamps, spotlights, illuminations, adverts, security lighting and three million houses, all contribute to the most severe light pollution in the UK, beaming light upwards where it isn't needed.’
      • ‘The inside had millions of illuminations allowing light into the station.’
      • ‘How about a dinner party for 14 at the giant oval dining table, lit by four vast pendant lights, further illuminations kindly provided by the Square Mile?’
  • 2The art of illuminating a manuscript.

    • ‘The portrait miniature seems to be a development of two older traditions: the medieval illumination of manuscripts and the Renaissance portrait medal, which was itself a revival of a classical form.’
    • ‘It is an emphasis and a faith apparent in the manuscript illumination and the great crucifixes of the Ottonian period and expressed in the liturgy of the church.’
    • ‘The ancient art of book illumination was still the prevailing form of painting in France at the beginning of the 15th century.’
    • ‘France had maintained a longstanding tradition of floral decoration in art and manuscript illumination since the Middle Ages.’
    • ‘During the twelfth century the sculptural decoration, manuscript illumination, stone towers on churches and stained glass were all successively proscribed.’
    decoration, illustration, embellishment, adornment, ornamentation
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    1. 2.1count noun An illuminated design in a manuscript.
      • ‘The stylized sprigs on the drawer fronts and the insides of the doors could have been copied from Indian manuscript illuminations or from Indian textiles.’
      • ‘Unsurprisingly, the best comparisons are with manuscript illuminations produced in the Winchester and Canterbury workshops, such as the famous Trinity Gospels in Cambridge, which were probably made in about 1020.’
      • ‘There are, of course, pictures of boats aplenty in medieval art - on the Bayeux Tapestry, for example, and in stained glass and manuscript illuminations.’
      • ‘There are relatively few surviving pieces of medieval date, so the study of armour is largely dependent on the evidence of monumental effigies, manuscript illuminations, and documentary sources such as accounts and inventories.’
      • ‘The exhibition will include performances each Sunday, award winning sculpture, old Morecambe illuminations, neon signs, clothing and music from different world religions.’
      decoration, illustration, embellishment, adornment, ornamentation
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  • 3Clarification.

    ‘these books form the most sustained analysis and illumination of the subject’
    • ‘If the artist bends his or her will, at whatever cost, to the illumination of difficult moral, social and psychological problems, this must sooner or later find a deep response in the population.’
    • ‘Moreover, her reading does allow for the illumination of crucial aspects of Smithson's practice that might otherwise have gone undetected.’
    • ‘The data collection and analysis are subsequently geared to the illumination or resolution of the research issue or problem that has been identified at the outset.’
    • ‘Even in the war itself, in its inherent character, we have the illumination of a great social principle which has a vital bearing on our theology of sin.’
    clarification, elucidation, explanation, revelation, explication, exposition, exegesis, rationalization
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    1. 3.1 Spiritual or intellectual enlightenment.
      • ‘Socrates was put to death, but the Socratic philosophy rose like the sun in heaven, and spread its illumination over the whole intellectual firmament.’
      • ‘So perhaps a theological illumination is the kind of enlightenment which Bach is pointing us towards and one which doesn't suggest a triumph of human reason, which is a triumph which can only fail in the end.’
      • ‘Today I shall search for sources of spiritual illumination and reach out to them in order to absorb their light.’
      • ‘Through his narrative of the illumination, Rousseau mythologized the violence of breaking this mold as the liberation of self through the experience of accident.’
      • ‘And then, with our mind made impassible and spiritual, we shall participate in a spiritual illumination from him, and in a union that transcends our mental faculties.’
      • ‘The book is not just for parents with new babies or parents-to-be - I hope it brings enlightenment and illumination to all members of a family, because we've all been babies before.’
      • ‘Before his illumination, Rousseau's thoughts had turned incessantly upon his relation to his fellow men.’
      • ‘Electricity enthralled Shelley: its sparkling, elusive, almost magical qualities resembled nothing so much as poetic inspiration, or spiritual illumination.’
      enlightenment, insight, revelation, discovery
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Middle English: via Old French from late Latin illuminatio(n-), from the verb illuminare (see illuminate).