When the written instructions get tough, look for an illustration — a picture — to figure out what to do. Assembling furniture? Numbered diagrams and other illustrations can help you avoid the dreaded pile of "leftover" pieces.

An illustration can also be a helpful example that isn't visual at all. A coworker who comes to work with a terrible cold and gives it to the whole office is an illustration of what happens when a boss discourages the use of sick days. You hope that the boss isn't an illustration of management at that company! If so, maybe these workers do need a visual: an illustration that shows hand-washing techniques and other ways to avoid germs.

Definitions of illustration
  1. noun
    a visual representation (a picture or diagram) that is used make some subject more pleasing or easier to understand
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    a full-page illustration (usually on slick paper)
    fashion plate
    a plate illustrating the latest fashion in dress
    type of:
    a creation that is a visual or tangible rendering of someone or something
  2. noun
    artwork that helps make something clear or attractive
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    pictorial matter, picture
    illustrations used to decorate or explain a text
    fig, figure
    a diagram or picture illustrating textual material
    type of:
    art, artwork, graphics, nontextual matter
    photographs or other visual representations in a printed publication
  3. noun
    showing by example
    synonyms: exemplification
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    type of:
    demo, demonstration
    a visual presentation showing how something works
  4. noun
    an item of information that is typical of a class or group
    synonyms: example, instance, representative
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    show 11 types...
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    apology, excuse
    a poor example
    exception, outlier
    an instance that does not conform to a rule or generalization
    case in point, precedent
    an example that is used to justify similar occurrences at a later time
    the most typical example or representative of a type
    a small part of something intended as representative of the whole
    an example regarded as typical of its class
    a test sample of some substance
    cross section
    a sample meant to be representative of a whole population
    grab sample
    a single sample or measurement taken at a specific time or over as short a period as feasible
    random sample
    a sample grabbed at random
    a small amount (especially of food or wine)
    type of:
    knowledge acquired through study or experience or instruction
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