illuminating

Something that's illuminating makes you better informed, more aware, or more inspired. An illuminating documentary film gives you all kinds of new information about its subject.

Describe things as illuminating when they clarify the situation or explain the facts. A long conversation with someone you don't know well can be illuminating, helping you understand her much better. Likewise, studying the details of any subject, whether it's dog training or art history, is also illuminating. The verb illuminate means "light up," and it comes from the Latin word illuminare, "to throw into light or make bright," which is also figuratively used to mean "illustrate."

Definitions of illuminating
  1. adjective
    tending to increase knowledge or dissipate ignorance
    “an illuminating lecture”
    synonyms: enlightening, informative
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    unenlightening, unilluminating
    failing to inform or clarify
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$19.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$19.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week