Meaning of “illustrate” in the English Dictionary

"illustrate" in British English

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illustrateverb [ T ]

uk /ˈɪl.ə.streɪt/ us /ˈɪl.ə.streɪt/

illustrate verb [ T ] (EXPLAIN)

C1 to show the meaning or truth of something more clearly, especially by giving examples:

The lecturer illustrated his point with a diagram on the blackboard.
This latest conflict further illustrates the weakness of the UN.
[ + question word ] The exhibition will illustrate how life evolved from water.

More examples

  • It is sometimes easier to illustrate an abstract concept by analogy with something concrete.
  • The incident graphically illustrates just how dangerous the situation in the war zone has become.
  • She illustrated her point by carrying out a simple experiment.
  • The incident illustrates the need for tighter security.
  • I need a volunteer to help me illustrate this next concept.

(Definition of “illustrate” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"illustrate" in American English

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illustrateverb [ T ]

us /ˈɪl·əˌstreɪt/

to add pictures to something, such as a book:

She writes children’s books and also illustrates them.

To illustrate is also to show the meaning or truth of something more clearly by giving examples:

To illustrate her point, she told a story about how her family felt when they moved here.

(Definition of “illustrate” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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