What does illuminate education mean? Illuminate can mean to give light to, or to enlighten. It’s commonly used as an adjective, but it’s occasionally used as a noun as well. When used in the sense of enlightenment, it has more of a religious connotation, and usually refers to knowledge about God or spiritual matters like the afterlife and the divine plan. It may also be used more colloquially like I find that discussion illuminating, meaning you found it insightful or thought-provoking.