Share this entry
illustrate Line breaks: il¦lus|trate
Pronunciation: /ˈɪləstreɪt/

Definition of illustrate in English:


1 [with object] Provide (a book, newspaper, etc.) with pictures: the guide is illustrated with full-colour photographs
More example sentences
  • To illustrate the Book of Ruth, Merian chose to represent Boaz and Ruth at the threshing floor.
  • 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.
decorate, adorn, ornament, embellish, accompany;
add pictures/drawings/sketches to, provide artwork for
with illustrations, with pictures, with drawings, with sketches, pictorial;
1.1Explain or make (something) clear by using examples, charts, pictures, etc. the results are illustrated in Figure 7
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • So let's look at another example as we explain and illustrate the general method.
explain, elucidate, clarify, make clear, make plain, demonstrate, point up, show, bring home, emphasize, interpret;
describe, sum up, summarize, gloss
informal get across, get over
2Serve as an example of: the World Cup illustrated what high standards our players must achieve
More example sentences
  • One example will serve to illustrate how comprehensive and penetrating his discernment is.
  • Three examples can serve to illustrate how a choice of ruler was made and the thinking behind the resources made available to him.
  • Clearly, this is a grossly simplified example but it serves to illustrate how such a solution is very open to sabotage.
exemplify, show, demonstrate, display, instance, encapsulate, represent


Early 16th century (in the sense 'illuminate, shed light on'): from Latin illustrat- 'lit up', from the verb illustrare, from in- 'upon' + lustrare 'illuminate'.

Definition of illustrate in:
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.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Related Words