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Definition of "enlightenment" []

  • The act or a means of enlightening. (noun)
  • The state of being enlightened. (noun)
  • A philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasized the use of reason to scrutinize previously accepted doctrines and traditions and that brought about many humanitarian reforms. Used with the. (noun)
  • Buddhism & Hinduism A blessed state in which the individual transcends desire and suffering and attains Nirvana. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "enlightenment" in a sentence
  • "I am, moreover, sceptical _because the very persons to whom to-day we have to look to effect the sexual enlightenment of children, are themselves to a great extent also in need of enlightenment_; and in respect of many of the questions about which the child has to be enlightened, no general harmony of scientific opinion can as yet be said to obtain."
  • "I love the way Eckhart Tolle puts it: "The word 'enlightenment' conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment ... it is really just your natural state of felt oneness with Being.""
  • "Though 19th century translators of Buddhist texts sometimes used the word "enlightenment" to refer to Gautama's moment of spiritual awakening on seeing the morning star, the first time a large number of general English readers saw the word used as a spiritual term was with the publication Essays on Zen Buddhism First Series by D.T. Suzuki in the 1930s."