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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 For Kennedy, this isn't just about the color of Santa's skin, but instead about a rich family tradition that brings back fond childhood memories of looking at elaborate light displays with his father, who died over 15 years ago on Thanksgiving Day. Tori Apodaca And Jeanne Bonner, CNN, "Man receives racist letter over Black Santa decoration -- and neighbors have his back," 28 Nov. 2020 Make the rounds of local neighborhoods and there’s a pop-up landscape running the gamut, from elaborate to idiosyncratic. John King, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco is having a parklet moment. Here are 11 cool ones to check out right now," 27 Nov. 2020 There are a startling amount of doomsday preppers, with their elaborate bunkers scattered across the map. Boone Ashworth, Wired, "Far Cry 5 Helped Me Escape Real Life, Until It Didn’t," 16 Nov. 2020 One of the statues in one of the loggias, an elaborate copy of one in the Vatican that depicts the Trojan priest Laocoön wreathed in angry serpents, explodes into a hundred thousand fragments. Salman Rushdie, The New Yorker, "The Old Man in the Piazza," 16 Nov. 2020 The next two photos show Teigen and friend Nova Kaplan, who's wearing her own elaborate look, sitting on the floor, seemingly accepting their makeup fate. Marci Robin, Allure, "Luna Gave Chrissy Teigen and John Legend Some Futuristic Silver Makeup Looks," 16 Nov. 2020 Prince Philip apparently cooks up elaborate barbecues for the Windsors to enjoy in the fresh air, and the Queen often roams the countryside (sometimes in a Land Rover). Liz Cantrell, Town & Country, "Margaret Thatcher Really Did Despise Visiting Balmoral," 15 Nov. 2020 Cleaning crews politely beg him to take his crying outside, and movers perform elaborate choreography while tossing his belongings out of the Oval Office. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Forget SNL. The Best Election Satire Is on TikTok.," 13 Nov. 2020 These restaurants had already created elaborate Diwali menus, bought special ingredients, planned for extra staffing and booked reservations. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco’s indoor dining ban hits Indian restaurants hard ahead of Diwali," 12 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Officials did not elaborate on the timing of the new order. Los Angeles Times, "New L.A. County ‘Safer at Home’ restrictions revealed as COVID-19 surge worsens," 25 Nov. 2020 The diocese did not elaborate on why that age was chosen. Ryan Foley, chicagotribune.com, "Church lets Iowa priest-professor return to work despite finding of sexual misconduct," 24 Nov. 2020 Indians coach Sam Shade didn’t elaborate on the reason for his absence but said he was expected back this week. Ben Thomas | Bthomas@al.com, al, "A-List update: Longtime Auburn commit Lee Hunter saving his best for last," 19 Nov. 2020 Allen did not elaborate on what kept Jones out Saturday. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "IU football improves to 4-0, 'making it happen' with Old Brass Spittoon win," 14 Nov. 2020 Pritzker didn't elaborate what those efforts entail. Greg Bishop, Washington Examiner, "Fall session of Illinois General Assembly canceled," 11 Nov. 2020 Whittingham did not elaborate as to which position groups were hit the hardest. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utes had a player hospitalized with COVID-19, UCLA game remains in doubt," 9 Nov. 2020 Police did not elaborate on the nature of the threats. Mike Corder, Star Tribune, "Dutch PM Rutte condemns threats to teacher over cartoon," 6 Nov. 2020 The document did not elaborate on what the text message said. Elizabeth Zavala, ExpressNews.com, "Death of San Antonio mom leads to murder indictment," 6 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for elaborate

Time Traveler

The first known use of elaborate was in 1592

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Statistics for elaborate

Last Updated

1 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elaborate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elaborate. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for elaborate

elaborate

adjective
How to pronounce elaborate (audio)

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
How to pronounce elaborate (audio)

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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