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Formerly also inlighten, from Middle English enlightenen, inlightnen, a hybrid formed from Middle English inlighten ‎(to enlighten, illuminate), from Old English inlīhtan, onlīhtan, enlīhten ‎(to enlighten, illuminate, give light to, give sight to) and Middle English lightnen ‎(to enlighten, illuminate) (equivalent to light +‎ -en). Cognate with Dutch inlichten ‎(to enlighten, inform), Old High German inliuhten ‎(to enlighten, illuminate), Gothic 𐌹𐌽𐌻𐌹𐌿𐌷𐍄𐌾𐌰𐌽 ‎(inliuhtjan, to enlighten, illuminate). More at inlight, -en.


enlighten ‎(third-person singular simple present enlightens, present participle enlightening, simple past and past participle enlightened)

  1. To supply with light; to illuminate; as, the sun enlightens the earth.
  2. To make clear to the intellect or conscience; to shed the light of truth and knowledge upon; to furnish with increase of knowledge; to instruct; as, to enlighten the mind or understanding.