Definition of illumination in English:

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Pronunciation: /iˌlo͞oməˈnāSH(ə)n/


1Lighting or light: higher levels of illumination are needed for reading
More example sentences
  • General or background lighting provides an overall level of illumination when natural light levels are low.
  • The use of blue light in this experiment is important because white light illumination caused significant heating artifacts.
  • The basement was dank and dark with no windows and only a few strategically placed fluorescent lights for illumination.
light, lighting, radiance, gleam, glow, glare;
shining, gleaming, glowing;
brilliance, luminescence
literary illumining, irradiance, lucency, lambency, effulgence, refulgence
1.1 (often illuminations) A display of lights on a building or other structure.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Now the illuminations were lights put onto the buildings, and they actually detail it, it's a changeover in the technology again.
  • 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?
2 Physics another term for illuminance.
3The art of illuminating a manuscript.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • During the twelfth century the sculptural decoration, manuscript illumination, stone towers on churches and stained glass were all successively proscribed.
3.1An illuminated design in a manuscript.
Example sentences
  • The exhibition will include performances each Sunday, award winning sculpture, old Morecambe illuminations, neon signs, clothing and music from different world religions.
  • There are, of course, pictures of boats aplenty in medieval art - on the Bayeux Tapestry, for example, and in stained glass and manuscript illuminations.
  • 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.
4Clarification: these books form the most sustained analysis and illumination of the subject
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
clarification, elucidation, explanation, revelation, explication
4.1Spiritual or intellectual enlightenment.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Socrates was put to death, but the Socratic philosophy rose like the sun in heaven, and spread its illumination over the whole intellectual firmament.
  • Electricity enthralled Shelley: its sparkling, elusive, almost magical qualities resembled nothing so much as poetic inspiration, or spiritual illumination.
enlightenment, insight, understanding, awareness;
learning, education, edification


Middle English: via Old French from late Latin illuminatio(n-), from the verb illuminare (see illuminate).

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