Definition of illumine in English:



  • 1literary with object Light up; brighten.

    ‘he moved her lamp so that her face was illumined’
    • ‘Its pathway is illumined by the reflected light from the rose window - shards of blue, scarlet, pale gold that shimmer.’
    • ‘But as it is, such knowledge of exemplary forms is impossible, though the light of God illumines the forms of particular things that we encounter in the world so that we can come to know them.’
    • ‘The light from the companionway illumined the interior.’
    • ‘From my peripheral vision, through the glass windshield, a vast spread of city lights illumining the black night sky over us for miles came into view.’
    • ‘Everywhere is pure, light illumines the ten directions, and the ten thousand dharmas [things] are one as is.’
    become bright, make bright, become brighter, make brighter, light up, lighten, cast light on, shed light on, throw light on, illuminate, irradiate
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  • 2Enlighten (someone) spiritually or intellectually.

    • ‘In his Confessions Augustine redirected reason inward in a fateful focus upon the content and structure of his own mind and soul, as he now experienced them - illumined by grace.’
    • ‘God continually illumines us, both dwelling upon us and dwelling among us.’
    • ‘He lives, illumining us with the eternal life that he is.’
    • ‘Second, the strife between world and earth gives rise to a strife between concealment and unconcealment, which means that, even when we are illumined through a disclosure, much remains hidden.’
    • ‘He was surrounded by people who had many powerful ideas and who illumined him to the point where they could wind him up and then he could do his special stuff.’


Middle English: from Old French illuminer, from Latin illuminare (see illuminate).