Definition of illumination in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ɪˌl(j)uːmɪˈneɪʃ(ə)n/


1 [mass noun] Lighting 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, glitter, brilliance, glow, glare, dazzle, flash, shimmer;
shining, gleaming, glowing;
irradiation, luminescence, incandescence, fluorescence, phosphorescence
rare illumining, irradiance, lucency, lambency, effulgence, refulgence, coruscation, fulguration
1.1 (illuminations) Lights used in decorating 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?
2The 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.
2.1 [count noun] An 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.
3Clarification: 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, exposition, exegesis, rationalization
3.1Spiritual 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, revelation, discovery;
understanding, awareness;
explanation, instruction;
learning, education, information, knowledge, edification
informal an aha moment


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

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words