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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The 30-second main title sequence features an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine, depicting a clear marble rolling along the tracks and setting off a chain reaction of events. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The 2010s were a veritable golden age of opening credits in television," 30 Dec. 2019 Music began; flutists, drummers, and dancers wearing elaborate animal costumes and masks approached the tents and paraded to the front of the crowd. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "Is Nuclear Power Worth the Risk?," 22 Dec. 2019 Richard Hodo and his wife, Helen, stayed at their Van Buren home every night from about Thanksgiving until Christmas for the last 23 years as tens of thousands visited their elaborate outdoor light display. Nyssa Kruse, Arkansas Online, "'It’s not the same': Arkansas man to end long-running Christmas light display after wife's death," 19 Dec. 2019 In the past, Diddy was known for throwing elaborate parties that brought A-listers out, and his birthday celebration was no different. Nandi Howard, Essence, "The Best Fashion Moments From #Diddy50," 16 Dec. 2019 As Mike Laycock reports for the York Press, researchers uncovered the Celtic warrior’s elaborate grave while conducting excavations at a housing development in the town of Pocklington last year. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Archaeologists Unearth Celtic Warrior Grave Complete With Chariot, Elaborate Shield," 10 Dec. 2019 Unconfirmed reports also indicate that the producers are looking to transfer the production to another Broadway house, though such a move would be an expensive proposition given the musical's elaborate design elements. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Beetlejuice' Sets Summer 2020 Closing Date on Broadway," 9 Dec. 2019 The billion-dollar criminal organization has a large and disciplined army, control of extensive drug routes throughout the U.S., sophisticated money-laundering techniques and an elaborate digital terror campaign, federal drug agents say. Beth Warren, courier-journal.com, "A ruthless Mexican drug lord’s empire is devastating families with its grip on small-town USA," 25 Nov. 2019 There were six impressive chimneys as well as a tower topped by a 20-foot obelisk, many bay windows, and an elaborate front porch. Mary Ann Ashcraft, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Carroll Yesteryears: Norwood Mansion and Terrace Hill: Two architectural treasures in Carroll County," 23 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While Trautmann wouldn't elaborate on what this might mean for the maker's rear- and mid-engine sports cars, the mere existence of the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid in both SUV and Cayenne coupe body styles is in line with the brand's new ethos. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Is Large and in Charge," 7 Jan. 2020 Investigators believe Rosemond killed Anderson during some kind of altercation, but police did not elaborate on their relationship. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Man charged in connection with body found by roadside in La Porte," 30 Dec. 2019 Montgomery’s firing is not related to that kind of misbehavior, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team has not elaborated on the reason for Montgomery’s dismissal. Schuyler Dixon, The Denver Post, "Jim Montgomery, former DU Pioneers coach, fired as head coach of Dallas Stars due to “unprofessional conduct”," 10 Dec. 2019 Brannen did not elaborate on the nature of the decision. Fletcher Page, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati basketball's Jarron Cumberland returns for Paradise Jam opener," 22 Nov. 2019 Police described the shooting as gang-related, but did not elaborate on the circumstances or a motive for the attack. Evan Sernoffsky, SFChronicle.com, "Was the Orinda Halloween shooting linked to a quadruple slaying in San Francisco? Police are investigating," 5 Nov. 2019 Tolson said last week that some of the hazing allegations were substantiated but did not elaborate on what the allegations were. USA TODAY, "Rare yellow cardinal sighted, escaped goat caught, fossilized bear skull found: News from around our 50 states," 18 Oct. 2019 District Attorney Timothy Cruz would not elaborate on what is believed to have happened, when pressed, but did say police are not searching for a suspect and stressed that there is no imminent threat to the public. Lauren Del Valle, CNN, "A family of five found dead in their Massachusetts home," 7 Oct. 2019 In today’s presentation, Budd Haeberlein elaborated on Biogen’s explanation for the two trials’ conflicting results. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "Skepticism persists about revived Alzheimer’s drug after conference presentation," 5 Dec. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about elaborate

Time Traveler for elaborate

Time Traveler

The first known use of elaborate was in 1592

See more words from the same year

Statistics for elaborate

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elaborate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elaborate. Accessed 20 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on elaborate

What made you want to look up elaborate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be intimidated or subdued

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!