elaborate

adjective
elab·​o·​rate | \ i-ˈla-b(ə-)rət \

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 \
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 \ noun
elaborative \ i-​ˈla-​bə-​ˌrā-​tiv \ 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

The real stars of the photo are the Carter twins, Rumi and Sir, but Bey appears in her elaborate dress in the background. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé Wore the Coolest Wedding Gown for Her Vow Renewal with Jay-Z," 2 Jan. 2019 On December 1, the two married in an elaborate affair at the Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur. Vogue, "These Were the Most Googled Weddings of 2018," 12 Dec. 2018 Of course, production designer John Paino didn't go to Amma's lengths when designing the elaborate model. Eileen Reslen, Country Living, "The Creepy 'Sharp Objects' Dollhouse Cost Over Six Figures to Make," 28 Aug. 2018 But in the black-and-white photos that Jennings found, the walls around the murals are decorated with elaborate paint and fronted by faux marble columns, compliments of Hopffgarten’s brush. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "What’s behind ’60s-era paneling at El Korah Shrine? A ballroom’s worth of ’20s art.," 12 July 2018 The elaborate faucets on the two sinks are the Waterstone brand, so expensive the company won’t make them till after the customer pays. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "17 years of tweaks turns Pleasant Ridge home into a vintage showplace," 7 July 2018 The effect is of one of those long New Yorker-style pieces that blend storytelling with feats of reporting—the elaborate set-up that is a feint, to be dispelled in an act of revelation. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Three Identical Men and a Mystery," 5 July 2018 On May 27, 1352, Joanna and Louis celebrated his coronation with an elaborate procession through the streets of Naples, only to arrive home and learn that their child had suddenly taken ill and died during their brief absence. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Joanna of Naples," 3 July 2018 Sandberg did not elaborate on Facebook's missteps in her speech. NBC News, "Sheryl Sandberg uses Facebook's woes as lesson for MIT grads," 8 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Eggs have a unique affinity for fat, which seems singularly able to elaborate their innate subtle richness. Tamar Adler, Vogue, "Why Pastured Eggs Are the Perfect Food," 13 Sep. 2018 After all, planning a wedding is probably just as covert and elaborate an operation as shooting a beloved HBO costume drama. Katherine Cusumano, Glamour, "Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams Had a Very Specific Self-Care Ritual to Deal With Game of Thrones Stress," 8 Oct. 2018 On the cover, the singer looks positively queenlike in a selection of Louis Vuitton, Valentino, and Gucci ensembles and elaborate headdresses, glowing in minimal makeup. Andrea Park, Allure, "Beyoncé Opens Up About Learning to Accept and Love Her Post-Baby Body," 6 Aug. 2018 Facebook also elaborated a bit on why these new accounts may have ties to the IRA. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook has discovered a ‘coordinated’ campaign of misinformation accounts ahead of the U.S. midterm elections," 31 July 2018 Marshall also declined to elaborate on the situation. Peter Dawson, star-telegram, "Report: Another former Mavs executive watched porn at work, left used condom on floor," 29 May 2018 Adams said the gunman had an escape plan, too, but would not elaborate. Brian Witte, BostonGlobe.com, "Suspect in newsroom rampage investigated for threats in 2013," 29 June 2018 Barrios would not elaborate on the investigation, calling it a personnel matter. Cynthia Hubert, sacbee, "Here's what a new California law says about teaching abortion in class," 14 June 2018 White House press secretary Sarah Sanders would not elaborate on the statement Thursday when pressed by reporters. Mj Lee And Cristina Alesci, CNN, "Trump failure to disclose Cohen payments last year raises red flags, experts say," 17 May 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

10 Jan 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, -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 \
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 \
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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to settle judicially or to act as judge

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