Definition of illumination in English:


Line breaks: il¦lu¦min|ation
Pronunciation: /ɪˌl(j)uːmɪˈneɪʃ(ə)n


  • 2The art of illuminating a manuscript.
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    • 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.
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    • 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
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    • 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.
  • 3.1Spiritual or intellectual enlightenment.
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    • 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).

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