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See also: illuminé



From Middle French illuminer, from Latin illūmināre.



illumine (third-person singular simple present illumines, present participle illumining, simple past and past participle illumined)

  1. (transitive) To illuminate.
    • 1593, William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis,[1]
      And as the bright sun glorifies the sky,
      So is her face illumined with her eye;
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book I, lines 22-26,[2]
      [] what in me is dark
      Illumine, what is low raise and support;
      That, to the height of this great argument,
      I may assert Eternal Providence,
      And justify the ways of God to men.
    • 1789, Ann Ward Radcliffe, The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne, London: T. Hookham, Chapter 9, p. 185,[3]
      The moon shone faintly by intervals, through broken clouds upon the waters, illumining the white foam which burst around, and enlightening the scene sufficiently to render it visible.
    • 1814 July, [Jane Austen], chapter VI, in Mansfield Park: A Novel. In Three Volumes, volume II, London: Printed for T[homas] Egerton, [], OCLC 39810224, page 133:
      Fanny’s attractions increased—increased two-fold—for the sensibility which beautified her complexion and illumined her countenance, was an attraction in itself.
    • 1890, H. L. Havell (translator), On the Sublime by Longinus (1st century CE), London: Macmillan, Part I, p. 3,[4]
      Skill in invention, lucid arrangement and disposition of facts, are appreciated not by one passage, or by two, but gradually manifest themselves in the general structure of a work; but a sublime thought, if happily timed, illumines an entire subject with the vividness of a lightning-flash, and exhibits the whole power of the orator in a moment of time.
    • 2012, Melanie McDonagh, “Where have all the book illustrators gone?” The Independent, 20 January, 2012,[5]
      [] the possibility that illustrations could actually illumine writing and draw out elements of a narrative doesn’t seem to count for much any more.
  2. (intransitive, rare) To light up.
    • 1918, Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier, Virago 2014, p. 18:
      ‘Shell-shock.’ Our faces did not illumine so she dragged on lamely. ‘Anyway, he's not well.’






  1. first-person singular present indicative of illuminer
  2. third-person singular present indicative of illuminer
  3. first-person singular present subjunctive of illuminer
  4. third-person singular present subjunctive of illuminer
  5. second-person singular imperative of illuminer