elaborate

adjective
elab·​o·​rate | \ i-ˈla-b(ə-)rət How to pronounce elaborate (audio) \

Definition of elaborate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : planned or carried out with great care took elaborate precautions
2 : marked by complexity, fullness of detail, or ornateness elaborate prose

elaborate

verb
elab·​o·​rate | \ i-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt How to pronounce elaborate (audio) \
elaborated; elaborating

Definition of elaborate (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to expand something in detail would you care to elaborate on that statement
2 : to become elaborate (see elaborate entry 1)

transitive verb

1 : to work out in detail : develop elaborate a theory
2 : to produce by labor
3 : to build up (something, such as complex organic compounds) from simple ingredients

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Other Words from elaborate

Adjective

elaborately adverb
elaborateness noun

Verb

elaboration \ i-​ˌla-​bə-​ˈrā-​shən How to pronounce elaboration (audio) \ noun
elaborative \ i-​ˈla-​bə-​ˌrā-​tiv How to pronounce elaborative (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for elaborate

Synonyms: Adjective

complex, complicated, detailed, fancy, intricate, involved, sophisticated

Synonyms: Verb

develop, evolve, unfold

Antonyms: Adjective

no-frills, simple, unfancy, unsophisticated

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Examples of elaborate in a Sentence

Adjective

Jumping spiders, the largest family of spiders, have excellent eyesight and perform elaborate courtship and threat displays, often characterized by ritualized body postures and leg waving. — Simon Pollard, Natural History, March 1995 Mostly, I think, because it's wicked hot today, I've been having elaborate fantasies about the perfect hot-weather lunch: two dozen freshly opened Little Necks and a couple bottles of ice-cold lager. None of that red "cocktail" sauce on 'em either, just lemon and coarse black pepper. — Vladimir Estragon, Waiting for Dessert, 1982 On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A. — Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 1850 They made elaborate preparations for his visit. I see now that her behavior was all part of an elaborate plan. The dancers were wearing elaborate costumes. He told the story in elaborate detail.

Verb

… the National Weather Service … advised all citizens in New Orleans's water-filled neighborhoods "to take the necessary tools for survival." The Weather Service elaborated: "Those going into attics should try to take an axe or hatchet with them so they can cut their way onto the roof to avoid drowning should rising flood waters continue to rise into the attic." — Christopher Cooper & Robert Block, Diaster, 2006 In each evening's sleep sustained dream scenarios, elaborated over periods lasting up to an hour, alternate with thought-like mentation in 90-minute-cycles. — Jeffrey Saver, London Review of Books, 4 Aug. 1988 I'll be glad to elaborate if you want to hear more. She was asked to say more about her earlier statements, but she declined to elaborate.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

As a child, wearing a sari seemed to me like an elaborate game of dress-up. Meara Sharma, Vogue, "Why I Am Taking the Sari Back to the Street," 30 Apr. 2019 Manning and her husband planned an elaborate party to mark the occasion. Marris Adikwu, Glamour, ""Will You Be My...Godparent?" How a Religious Rite of Passage Swept Social Media," 2 Apr. 2019 Its physical substrate, the thalamo-cortical complex that provides consciousness with its highly elaborate content, begins to be in place between the 24th and 28th week of gestation. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why the Abortion Movie Unplanned Is Factually Incorrect," 16 Apr. 2019 That is a far different picture than 15 years ago, when retirees were rushing to build elaborate, five or six-bedroom houses in warm climates, fueled in part by the easy credit of the real estate boom. Candace Taylor, WSJ, "A Growing Problem in Real Estate: Too Many Too Big Houses," 21 Mar. 2019 Some had come prepared with elaborate celebratory handshake routines. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Hanging out at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory," 27 Nov. 2018 Abandoned to the world, these bewildered and naive Thin Bloods threaten the Masquerade, the elaborate social pact that prevents humans from finding out about vampires. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "15 years later, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is finally happening," 21 Mar. 2019 In a statement obtained by The Associated Press, the hospital said Bolsonaro was in surgery but did not elaborate. Fox News, "Jair Bolsonaro, Brazilian presidential candidate, stabbed during event, suspects in custody: reports," 2 Oct. 2018 But men typically serve as window dressing, hanging in the background while women show off their elaborate gowns. Cam Wolf, GQ, "At the Met Gala, Menswear Finally Gave Us Something to Talk About," 9 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her co-host Omid Scobie, who is also a royal correspondent, elaborated. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Might Reject a Royal Title for Their Baby," 18 Apr. 2019 Another spokesperson, John Pennell, told the Anchorage Daily News that Conde was hit by rifle fire, but did not elaborate further. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "US service member killed in Afghanistan just weeks before deployment was to end, officials say," 2 Oct. 2018 Obama reportedly only laughed and shook her head, keeping things classy and refraining from elaborating further on her comments. Glamour, "Michelle Obama Just Made a Rare Comment About Donald Trump," 16 Apr. 2019 Games won’t be able to collect data or track how people play without getting consent, though Apple didn’t elaborate on what getting consent entails. Rachel Lerman, The Seattle Times, "Apple highlights privacy in new services in jab at rivals," 26 Mar. 2019 One feared Florida turning into California, but did not elaborate on the problems of California. Dan Sweeney, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Readers show strong support for legalization of recreational marijuana," 28 June 2018 Along with the news that the park will open in phases, Today Disney elaborated on tickets and admission. Megan Friedman And Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Disney Just Released New Details for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Both Disney World and Disneyland," 8 Mar. 2019 But Halloween 2019 is just over a year away: plenty of time to build something really elaborate. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "This Halloween, use a 3D-printed prop to complete your last-minute costume," 27 Oct. 2018 Kavanaugh said Thursday, when given the chance to elaborate on Harris' question from a day earlier. Alex Pappas | Fox News, Fox News, "‘Confidential’ Kavanaugh emails posted by Cory Booker were cleared, despite dramatic claim of defying rules," 2 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elaborate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of elaborate

Adjective

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1611, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for elaborate

Adjective and Verb

Latin elaboratus, from past participle of elaborare to work out, acquire by labor, from e- + laborare to work — more at laboratory

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Learn More about elaborate

Dictionary Entries near elaborate

Ekurhuleni

el

El'brus

elaborate

elaborater

elaboratory

Elachistaceae

Statistics for elaborate

Last Updated

16 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for elaborate

The first known use of elaborate was in 1592

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More Definitions for elaborate

elaborate

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of elaborate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: made or done with great care or with much detail : having many parts that are carefully arranged or planned

elaborate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of elaborate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give more details about something : to discuss something more fully
: to bring (something, such as an idea or a plan) to a more advanced or developed state

elaborate

adjective
elab·​o·​rate | \ i-ˈla-bə-rət How to pronounce elaborate (audio) , -ˈla-brət\

Kids Definition of elaborate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: made or done with great care or with much detail an elaborate ceremony

Other Words from elaborate

elaborately adverb

elaborate

verb
elab·​o·​rate | \ i-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt How to pronounce elaborate (audio) \
elaborated; elaborating

Kids Definition of elaborate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to give more details about Would you elaborate on what happened?
2 : to work out in detail He elaborated his ideas.

elaborate

transitive verb
elab·​o·​rate | \ i-ˈlab-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce elaborate (audio) \
elaborated; elaborating

Medical Definition of elaborate

of a living organism
: to alter the chemical makeup of (as a foodstuff) to one more suited to bodily needs (as of assimilation or excretion) especially : to build up (complex organic compounds) from simple ingredients the toxin elaborated by the tetanus bacterium

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Comments on elaborate

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