Meaning of “illustration” in the English Dictionary

"illustration" in British English

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illustrationnoun [ C or U ]

uk /ˌɪl.əˈstreɪ.ʃən/ us /ˌɪl.əˈstreɪ.ʃən/

illustration noun [ C or U ] (PICTURE)

C1 a picture in a book, magazine, etc. or the process of illustrating something:

a full-page illustration
colour/black and white illustrations

More examples

  • The illustrations show monstrous beasts with bodies like bears and heads like tigers.
  • You will be expected to assist the editor with the selection of illustrations for the book.
  • Encyclopedias on CD-ROM include sound, illustrations and simple animations.
  • The book contains 25 colour illustrations.
  • The description was accompanied by a wonderful illustration.

illustration noun [ C or U ] (EXAMPLE)

C2 an example that explains or proves something:

This delay is a perfect illustration of why we need a new computer system.
A couple of examples are included, by way of illustration (= to show the meaning more clearly).

More examples

  • The president's budget is a vivid illustration of how much the political landscape has changed over the past two years.
  • One illustration of how severe the problem is, in this clinic an estimated two out of every five pregnant women are HIV positive.

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

"illustration" in American English

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illustrationnoun [ C/U ]

us /ˌɪl·əˈstreɪ·ʃən/

a picture:

[ C ] Look at the illustration on page 37.

An illustration is also an example that makes something easier to understand, or the giving of such examples:

[ C ] That’s a perfect illustration of the problem.

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

"illustration" in Business English

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illustrationnoun [ C or U ]

uk /ˌɪləˈstreɪʃən/ us

an example that shows something:

In our illustration of how much your initial investment might be worth at term, we are assuming an 8% rate of return.

(Definition of “illustration” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)