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 After the game, first-year coach Mike Locksley said that Fleet-Davis was held out because of a non-football issue but didn’t elaborate. Don Markus, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland running back Tayon Fleet-Davis charged with DWI, reckless driving, records show," 24 Nov. 2019 Back-to-Basics Stuffing Sure, stuffing can be elaborate. oregonlive, "15 Thanksgiving stuffing, dressing recipes to dress up the holiday table," 22 Nov. 2019 However, their idea of a new backyard patio may be considerably more elaborate than yours. Boston.com Real Estate, "Home improvement projects that reportedly don’t pay off at resale," 30 Oct. 2019 Whether elaborate or spare, altars are colorful, with mounds of flowers — primarily marigolds — candles, pan de muerto, salt, incense, photos and refreshments for the deceased, including beer or another favorite beverage. Carmina Danini, ExpressNews.com, "Church, community leaders in San Antonio seek to infuse Día de los Muertos with spirituality," 28 Oct. 2019 Others are more elaborate: More than a dozen pumpkins intricately carved together into a towering, colorful Dia de los Muertos mask. Doug George, chicagotribune.com, "Pumpkin Glow opens in Lisle, a new holiday light display for Halloween," 9 Oct. 2019 For example, Patricia Arquette honored her late sister, Alexis, while accepting her award, but the best supporting actress in a limited series winner did not elaborate on how her sister died. Katherine Schaffstall, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: Alexis Arquette, 'Last Week Tonight's' Office Dog and More Inside References Explained," 23 Sep. 2019 Brian Gunderson: There were very elaborate plans, of course, for the Speaker, because the Speaker’s in the line of presidential succession. Garrett M. Graff, Time, "What Happened on Capitol Hill on 9/11," 11 Sep. 2019 Maybe he was not distracted by having to campaign and do all this stuff because his plan was very elaborate. Dalton Ross, EW.com, "Dan's funeral: An oral history of the greatest Big Brother moment ever," 29 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The agency declined to elaborate on the tactical deployments. Alison Knezevich, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland police turning to drones to help some investigations, raising surveillance concerns," 15 Nov. 2019 Sinema: Too soon to focus on 2020 Sinema declined to elaborate on her views of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, although her spokeswoman sent The Arizona Republic unpublished comments made by Sinema in the Politico interview. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "Sen. Kyrsten Sinema won't commit to supporting Democratic presidential nominee," 31 Oct. 2019 The Howarth study adds another piece to the extremely complicated methane puzzle, Worden said in an email, declining to elaborate. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "Fracking boom tied to methane spike in Earth’s atmosphere," 15 Aug. 2019 Authorities didn't elaborate as to why the woman was taken to the hospital. al.com, "Female inmate dies in Walker County," 14 July 2019 Still, Talking Rain didn't elaborate on what the problem might be that caused a recall of 21 lots of a drink. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Some consumers said the sparkling water tasted funny. The company took it to heart.," 26 June 2018 Soon several hundred tourists in sneakers, jeans, and floral-print dresses are taking selfies with the ladyboys from the show, who are dressed in hip-high split skirts, stiletto heels, and elaborate feathered headdresses. Paul Kvinta, Outside Online, "I Bought an Elephant to Find Out How to Save Them," 12 Nov. 2019 During a scuffle, the deputy was shot, the Fayetteville Police Department said, without elaborating. Jason Hanna And Tina Burnside, CNN, "A struggle over a gun at a North Carolina hospital leaves a suspect dead and a deputy injured," 6 Nov. 2019 The case might be related to a drive-by shooting in a small eastern Connecticut town that killed a man last month, police confirmed without elaborating. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "State police: Hartford man arrested for failure to safely store gun around minor," 5 Nov. 2019

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

12 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Elaborate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elaborate. Accessed 12 December 2019.

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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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Comments on elaborate

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