Definition of illustration in English:



  • 1A picture illustrating a book, newspaper, etc.

    ‘an illustration of a yacht’
    • ‘The industry is still too accepting of mediocre illustrations and photography in general.’
    • ‘Not only the texts were analysed, but also the covers and any illustrations in the books.’
    • ‘Wentzloff has been drawing children's book illustrations since she was only a child.’
    • ‘The journal was beautifully produced, the illustrations including original prints.’
    • ‘A big part of my understanding is through drawings or graphic illustrations.’
    • ‘Scotland on Sunday has obtained images of the fingerprint illustrations central to the case.’
    • ‘Most of these illustrations originally appeared in the research articles reporting the data.’
    • ‘The book contains numerous illustrations but the poor reproduction detracts from their value.’
    • ‘It is therefore perhaps proper to review separately the illustrations that comprise this book.’
    • ‘The newspaper featured many illustrations of the President Chairman and rather fewer of any one else.’
    • ‘Among the many illustrations in this new book are previously unpublished photographs by Warhol.’
    • ‘I really do think I shall be able to work the stories and the illustrations up into a nice little book for publication.’
    • ‘As with any children's book, the first things that strike you are the illustrations.’
    • ‘Blake's countless fans will be fascinated to see favourite illustrations in the original.’
    • ‘She was absolutely riveted to see at first hand the paintings which appear as illustrations in her textbooks.’
    • ‘It's a large format picture book with facts and illustrations about the lives of people all over the world.’
    • ‘Including poems and illustrations, it is a beautifully produced book which shows the city in all its facets.’
    • ‘The photographs and illustrations enhance the information, and some new material is on display.’
    • ‘His magazine illustrations and the drawings he made for his paintings have much in common.’
    • ‘It was Mr. Kalliganur who did the cover design and also a few illustrations for all these books.’
    picture, drawing, sketch, figure, graphic
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  • 2mass noun The action or fact of illustrating something.

    ‘by way of illustration, I refer to the following case’
    • ‘This is a powerful tool, and the author's explanation and illustration should help players apply it to their own study.’
    • ‘Gifted with his hands he studied illustration and design under Austin Molloy at the Metropolitan School of Art.’
    • ‘It ‘gave a rotundity to my person, a wave and curl to my hair, and perhaps led me to fancy pictorial illustration and flaming colours’.’
    • ‘When I was there they were very much into minimalism, and they felt that figurative work was illustration, not art.’
    • ‘The teachers read them and would award extra marks for descriptiveness, inventiveness and illustration.’
    • ‘However Clarke is also known for his work in illustration.’
    • ‘The three basic elements of translation, commentary, and illustration are pleasingly balanced.’
    • ‘At college I studied textiles and illustration, so I married the two.’
    • ‘In fact, none of the regular contributing illustrators who did ads had any editorial illustration in the same issue.’
    • ‘As a proportionalist, Dunn is very complete in his description and illustration of premoral and moral values.’
    • ‘Tucker's writings are diffuse and unmethodical, but marked by humour and quaint illustration and comment.’
    • ‘Born in Sunderland, she studied illustration and textile design at the Newcastle upon Tyne College of Art and Industrial Design.’
    • ‘Back at school, have the students record their memories through illustration or descriptive writing.’
    • ‘Exhaustively researched, The Sword and the Cross is somewhat deficient in maps and almost totally lacking in illustration.’
    • ‘With the decline of interest in Victoriana, such books disappeared and with them much of the art of architectural illustration.’
    • ‘This use of illustration in accounts of life in a railway works is significant in several ways.’
    • ‘By the close integration of text, commentary, and illustration, he gave the renaissance world a definitive anatomical thesis.’
    • ‘We focus on legislation, explanation, interpretation and illustration in the form of examples.’
    • ‘I had written my final thesis on mysticism and shamanism, complete with illustration and tipped in plates.’
    • ‘What takes place is not interpretation but illustration.’
    exemplification, demonstration, showing, instancing
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    1. 2.1 An illustrative example.
      ‘this accident is a graphic illustration of the disaster that's waiting to happen’
      • ‘Even if one applies the old test of not only tell the employee what to do but also how to do it, it would be a very clear illustration of the fact that it is not.’
      • ‘The perfect illustration of this is Marshall Berman's example of the rock in the backyard.’
      • ‘It is also an extremely funny illustration of the national obsession with word-play, in-jokes and notably filthy double entendre.’
      • ‘This slightly facetious example is an illustration of a problem that is causing some real teeth-gnashing.’
      • ‘The graphic illustration of that is the Waco transaction where the client paid ten times the premium sought by the underwriter.’
      • ‘Does this illustration demonstrate that different ABC programmes provide different points of view?’
      • ‘An illustration of a study using a triangulation approach is an investigation by Hughes et al.’
      • ‘What more graphic illustration of that very point can there be than their reaction to Moore's article.’
      • ‘Big Rock's seasonal example from last year was a much better illustration of this style of beer.’
      • ‘The most vivid illustration of India's efforts to use soft power as a tool of foreign policy came recently in Afghanistan.’
      • ‘Consider as an illustration Sartre's example of a young man torn between joining the Free French and caring for his aging mother.’
      • ‘Perhaps the most graphic illustration of this was in the US three years ago.’
      • ‘David O. Russell used a similar effect in Three Kings as a graphic and terrifying illustration of what a gunshot can do.’
      • ‘Now there is a quick visual illustration of the size of the problem - someone has made a wallchart containing all the characters so far assigned in Unicode.’
      • ‘His record provides perhaps the most graphic illustration of the real nature of this policy.’
      • ‘An illustration of the expansion is exemplified in the following Senior Steward's experience.’
      • ‘He then gives a colourful and graphic illustration of the point.’
      • ‘This year in a perverse way has been a very good illustration of these basic facts.’
      • ‘Another illustration that he gives is an analogy between words and pieces in a chess game.’
      • ‘My own case was merely an example, an illustration… guess I thought it would be a lot more common.’
      exemplification, demonstration, showing, instancing
      View synonyms


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘illumination; spiritual or intellectual enlightenment’): via Old French from Latin illustratio(n-), from the verb illustrare (see illustrate).