Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defined enlightenment as:[1]
1 – “the act or means of enlightening the state of being enlightened”
2 – “capitalized a philosophical movement of the 18th century marked by a rejection of traditional social, religious, and political ideas and an emphasis on rationalism —used with the
3 – “Buddhism a final blessed state marked by the absence of desire or suffering”

Dictionary.com defined it as:[2]
1 – “the act of enlightening.”
2 – “the state of being enlightened”
3 – “(usually initial capital letter)BuddhismHinduism. prajna.”
4 – “the Enlightenment, a philosophical movement of the 18th century, characterized by belief in the power of human reason and by innovations in political, religious, and educational doctrine.”

Lexico defined it as:[3]
1 – “The action of enlightening or the state of being enlightened.”
1.1 – “The action or state of attaining or having attained spiritual knowledge or insight, in particular (in Buddhism) that awareness which frees a person from the cycle of rebirth.”
2 – “(the Enlightenment) A European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition. It was heavily influenced by 17th-century philosophers such as Descartes, Locke, and Newton, and its prominent figures included Kant, Goethe, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Adam Smith.”


“1621, in the meaning defined at sense 1”[1]

“First recorded in 1660–70; enlighten + -ment”[2]

“1660s, “action of enlightening,” from enlighten + -ment. Used only in figurative sense, of spiritual enlightenment, etc. Attested from 1865 as a translation of German Aufklärung, a name for the spirit of independent thought and rationalistic system of 18c. Continental philosophers.”[4]

“”The English term Enlightenment is itself a translation, coined in the late 19th century, of two distinct terms, both in use in the 18th century: the French term lumières and the German Aufklärung. The two have in common the idea of ‘light,'” wrote John Robertson, a professor of the history of political thought at the University of Cambridge in his book “The Enlightenment: A Very Short Introduction” (Oxford University Press, 2015).”[5]

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[1] – “Enlightenment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enlightenment. Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

[2] – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/enlightenment?s=t. Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

[3] – https://www.lexico.com/definition/enlightenment. Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

[4] – https://www.etymonline.com/word/enlightenment. Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

[5] – https://www.livescience.com/55327-the-enlightenment.html#:~:text=%22The%20English%20term%20Enlightenment%20is,lumi%C3%A8res%20and%20the%20German%20Aufkl%C3%A4rung.. Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

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