To illustrate is to make something more clear or visible. Children's books are illustrated with pictures. An example can illustrate an abstract idea.

The word illustrate comes from the Latin illustrare 'to light up or enlighten.' Pictures in a book enlighten the reader, and a good example can enlighten someone on a complex topic. Another use: The government's actions illustrate how out of touch it is with the people. The history of this word illustrates how language changes over time, and how knowing the original meaning can help you understand the word in a deeper way.

Definitions of illustrate

v depict with an illustration

Type of:
depict, picture, render, show
show in, or as in, a picture

v supply with illustrations

illustrate a book with drawings”
Type of:
adorn, beautify, decorate, embellish, grace, ornament
make more attractive by adding ornament, colour, etc.

v clarify by giving an example of

exemplify, instance
Type of:
dilate, elaborate, enlarge, expand, expatiate, exposit, expound, flesh out, lucubrate
add details, as to an account or idea; clarify the meaning of and discourse in a learned way, usually in writing

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.