Etymology: Uncertain; any of the following are possible ways in which enlighten was formed:
- To supply with light; to illuminate; as, the sun enlightens the earth.
- To make clear to the intellect or conscience; to shed the light of truth and knowledge upon; to furnish with increase of knowledge; to instruct; as, to enlighten the mind or understanding.
- light + en- -en, intensifying verbal circumfix;
- originally a by-form of inlighten, itself derived from the obsolete inlight + -en; or,
- in- or en- + lighten.<ref name="OED-etym">The Oxford English Dictionary (2007) refers to the circumfixation scenario as the simultaneous prefixing of en- and suffixing of -en (which, by definition, constitutes circumfixation).</ref>
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Full Definition of enlighten