Definition of illustrate in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Provide (a book, newspaper, etc.) with pictures.

    ‘the guide is illustrated with full-color photographs’
    • ‘I've also made a lot of lithographs, and I've written and illustrated half a dozen books about countries and cities.’
    • ‘The book is well illustrated with a number of figures and photographs.’
    • ‘Many artists use collage techniques for illustrating picture books.’
    • ‘The user guides and booklet are illustrated, and for the most part they are well-written.’
    • ‘They are very compelling fossils because they are so exact and they're representing animals that I hadn't quite seen before and there's a book illustrating some of their variety.’
    • ‘He has written several books and has illustrated many more.’
    • ‘These publications launched DeCora into a career illustrating books of Indian folktales for children.’
    • ‘When he's not writing works of fiction, Gray has also been known to try his hand at radio plays, dramas, short stories, poetry, painting, murals and indeed illustrating his own books.’
    • ‘This book is beautifully colourfully illustrated by Edward Eaves and is lots of fun.’
    • ‘To illustrate the Book of Ruth, Merian chose to represent Boaz and Ruth at the threshing floor.’
    • ‘While some make their mark illustrating books, magazines, product packaging and so on, grads are also designing video games for the likes of Edmonton's Bioware Corporation.’
    • ‘His website suggests that, as well as a career as a session musician (the musical equivalent of emptying ashtrays), he's started illustrating children's books.’
    • ‘It was produced at only a handful of mints, and few specimens are known, but they have been illustrated in countless books and articles.’
    • ‘Photographic picture books, illustrating New York and other subjects, proliferated; a number of these featured the work of the new documentary photographers.’
    • ‘John Hodgkiss edited the diverse selection of reportage and portrait photographs illustrating the book.’
    • ‘The pictures that so richly illustrate the book are often of very great beauty.’
    • ‘Her assignments included illustrating George Balanchine's book Complete Stories of the Great Ballets.’
    • ‘The slim volume is illustrated with photographs of Bainbridge as a wide-eyed ingenue.’
    • ‘We talked about Sidney Nolan, who had illustrated his most recent book, and about Australia.’
    • ‘They form a set that illustrates the 12 books of Paradise Lost.’
    with illustrations, with pictures, with drawings, with sketches, pictorial
    decorate, adorn, ornament, embellish, accompany
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    1. 1.1 Explain or make (something) clear by using examples, charts, pictures, etc.
      ‘the results are illustrated in Figure 7’
      • ‘The global perspective is best illustrated by his book, A History of Christianity.’
      • ‘A flow chart illustrating the testing sequence is shown in Figure 2.’
      • ‘Rescorla uses network traces and clear diagrams to illustrate the concepts introduced in the text.’
      • ‘So let's look at another example as we explain and illustrate the general method.’
      • ‘This exclusive picture graphically illustrates the decline of Swindon's much beloved Mechanics' Institute.’
      • ‘On a broader level, the book also illustrates the way the trajectories of technological change cannot be taken for granted.’
      • ‘When Touch of Evil was first announced, a documentary explaining and illustrating the changes that resulted from Welles' memo was to have been included with the DVD.’
      • ‘There are lengthy charts illustrating the kind of rhetorical strategies used to enhance the literary appeal of the letter to its hearers.’
      • ‘One or two things seem to me underplayed (the great baroque invention of the Duet, for example), but thought has gone into explaining and illustrating most genres.’
      • ‘The chart above illustrates the saturation pressure for water vapor as a function of the ambient temperature.’
      • ‘So I'm going to try again, this time with some charts to help illustrate the jargon.’
      • ‘Both books illustrate the way the Suharto family exploited Indonesia.’
      • ‘I clicked on an icon, triggering a flow chart that illustrated their organizational relationship.’
      • ‘The following chart illustrates the finishing position of each champion in the first race of the season.’
      • ‘The charts which illustrate the light curves of variable stars remind me of quilting charts.’
      • ‘In her book, Postrel offers diverse examples and stories to illustrate her concepts.’
      • ‘Taleb uses this hypothetical experiment, and its results, to illustrate a number of errors in thinking.’
      • ‘I'd really like to see a UK version of the Red Tape chart, illustrating the size and scope of the US federal government.’
      • ‘Chart 1 illustrates the path of employment in industry, the key exposed sector of the Irish economy.’
      • ‘The chart illustrates the disparity in the incomes of the parties.’
      explain, elucidate, clarify, make clear, make plain, demonstrate, point up, show, bring home, emphasize, interpret
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    2. 1.2 Serve as an example of.
      ‘a collection of pieces that illustrate Bach's techniques’
      • ‘Revealingly, Halberstam's book illustrates several of the shortcomings it purports to dissect.’
      • ‘The latest employment figures serve to illustrate that little has been done.’
      • ‘A striking example illustrating this pattern is given by tropical and temperate forest trees.’
      • ‘Wars illustrate the hatred between countries.’
      • ‘I do hope that this election serves to illustrate to everyone that it is not about them and how they can benefit with a modest tax cut here and there.’
      • ‘The impact of the falling euro on sales returns is illustrated by the latest results for IBM.’
      • ‘All of this serves to illustrate an extraordinary double standard that exists at the heart of public life.’
      • ‘These results illustrate the importance of examining for nonhistorical signals.’
      • ‘Inverness won 4-2, a result that illustrates the changes at this club this season.’
      • ‘These results also illustrate the problems faced by the Labour party.’
      • ‘Consumer spending statistics on apparel over the past decade illustrates a clear trend.’
      • ‘The result perfectly illustrated the difference that a millionaire can make to life in the English first division.’
      • ‘Clearly, this is a grossly simplified example but it serves to illustrate how such a solution is very open to sabotage.’
      • ‘California's wine scene is one of the best examples to illustrate diversity.’
      • ‘These results illustrate that variation exists in maize for the impact of ploidy on gene expression.’
      • ‘Three examples can serve to illustrate how a choice of ruler was made and the thinking behind the resources made available to him.’
      • ‘One example will serve to illustrate how comprehensive and penetrating his discernment is.’
      • ‘The cases of Lithuania, Uzbekistan, and Russia serve to illustrate why this is the case.’
      • ‘This surely serves to illustrate most clearly why a change is required - so few were the away wins this season, for the majority of teams.’
      • ‘This has been a massive success and the book sales illustrate this.’
      exemplify, show, demonstrate, display, instance, encapsulate, represent
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Early 16th century (in the sense ‘illuminate, shed light on’): from Latin illustrat- ‘lit up’, from the verb illustrare, from in- ‘upon’ + lustrare ‘illuminate’.