verb (used with object), il·lus·trat·ed, il·lus·trat·ing.
- to furnish (a book, magazine, etc.) with drawings, pictures, or other artwork intended for explanation, elucidation, or adornment.
- to make clear or intelligible, as by examples or analogies; exemplify.
- Archaic. to enlighten.
verb (used without object), il·lus·trat·ed, il·lus·trat·ing.
- to clarify one’s words, writings, etc., with examples: To prevent misunderstandings, let me illustrate.
- to clarify or explain by use of examples, analogy, etc
- (tr) to be an example or demonstration of
- (tr) to explain or decorate (a book, text, etc) with pictures
- (tr) an archaic word for enlighten
1520s, “light up, shed light on;” 1610s, “educate by means of examples,” back-formation from illustration, and in some cases from Latin illustratus, past participle of illustrare (see illustration). Sense of “provide pictures to explain or decorate” is 1630s. Related: Illustrated; illustrating.