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

Well With Freaky Accents This season's girl has enough to worry about, what with having to put her tears on and lenses in on top of stacking a dizzying array of elaborate masks, chokers, ear cuffs, and knee pads. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "What the Gucci Runway Just Taught Us About Beauty at Milan Fashion Week," 20 Feb. 2019 Upgrades over the centuries have left with it with elaborate stucco decorations, a massive stone staircase, and extravagant light fixtures that mark the introduction of electricity at the end of the 19th century. WSJ, "A Belgian Castle With a Heroic Past," 13 Feb. 2019 Diana also wore the earrings frequently through the years to a wide range of royal events, spanning from elaborate royal tours to more informal visits across the United Kingdom. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Wore Princess Diana's Sapphire Earrings in Scotland," 29 Jan. 2019 The officials shower the centers with incentives like free rent, according to government statements and people familiar with the deals, and promote them through elaborate ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook’s morale problem is getting worse," 6 Dec. 2018 Some of these are pretty involved, like elaborate security systems and appliances. Kim Komando, Fox News, "Smart home upgrades, streaming services and more: Tech Q&A," 26 Aug. 2018 California has spent more than a century crafting one of the world's most elaborate — and interdependent — networks for storing, allocating and delivering its water. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "This one issue could make splitting California into three states virtually impossible," 25 June 2018 Still, the latest episode came pretty close, alternating between elaborate double-crosses. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Billions' wraps season with high-stakes double crosses," 10 June 2018 For as elaborate and serious as The Moody Blues' music was, the living members' induction speeches were rather brief, humorous and to the point. Troy L. Smith, cleveland.com, "The Moody Blues close out 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony," 15 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Kyle Kashuv, a survivor of the shooting tweeted in a post that included a video elaborating on his feelings. Andrew Boryga, sun-sentinel.com, "Former school cop Scot Peterson: He’s been called a coward, but is that a crime?," 7 June 2019 The company confirmed a utility outage that led to the water damage, but declined to elaborate. John Wenzel, The Denver Post, "Esquire Theatre sets mid-June reopening date after six-month closure," 6 June 2019 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

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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Dictionary Entries near elaborate

Ekurhuleni

el

El'brus

elaborate

elaborater

elaboratory

Elachistaceae

Statistics for elaborate

Last Updated

13 Jun 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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showing great care, attention, and effort

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