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 The tailors who sew elaborate holiday boubous and vendors who sell barbecue grills by roadsides are hurting, too. BostonGlobe.com, "UK has Europe’s worst surge in deaths during pandemic, study says," 31 July 2020 The living room’s focal point is an inset fireplace that makes the most of the architectural details throughout the home, like the elaborate mantle and the pristine moulding. Mary Grace Granados, Dallas News, "Peek inside this English Cotswold manor in Highland Park with an updated Hollywood vibe," 30 July 2020 Eco tours of the lagoon are free and run multiple times daily, and private experiences that can be booked include elaborate in-villa barbecues, sunrise breakfast boat tours, and in-room spa treatments. Nina Ruggiero, Travel + Leisure, "You Can Be the First to Stay in This Mexican Resort's Brand New Beachfront Suites or Overwater Villas," 29 July 2020 Manufacturers paid more attention to packaging to appeal to consumers looking for quality, and the standards were reinforced by retailers who remain convinced that shoppers prefer elaborate wrapping. Emiko Jozuka, CNN, "Japan finally announced a fee for plastic bags. Will that stop its obsession with plastic?," 29 July 2020 On the show, O’Grady portrayed a member of a girl group and performed multiple, elaborate musical numbers. Ariana Brockington, refinery29.com, "Little Voice Is Only Kind Of About Singer-Songwriter Sara Bareilles’ Life," 13 July 2020 The four new benches are the first additions to the elaborate collection of public art since fall of 2018 when six new benches were installed. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Woodlands Arts Council announces 4 new art benches," 10 July 2020 Perform an elaborate dance routine wearing matching denim jackets in the local dive bar? Katie Walsh, ExpressNews.com, "Andy Samberg finds romance in Hulu’s ‘Palm Springs’," 8 July 2020 Your travel plans are probably less elaborate this Fourth of July—heading to a beachfront hotel or taking a long weekend road trip seems to be as far as most are venturing out. Madison Flager, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best 4th of July Sales for Travel Gear and More," 2 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Authorities did not elaborate or provide information about Moore’s partner, Aaron Elkin. oregonlive, "Newborn, mother missing from Oregon City, authorities say," 31 July 2020 White’s attorney, Drew Findling, told CNN his client was associated with Brooks, but declined to elaborate. Jessica Flores, USA TODAY, "Protest updates: Minneapolis police chief calls Floyd's death a 'murder'; 'Unlawful assembly' at Trump rally; Charleston to remove statue," 24 June 2020 Vice declined to elaborate on the details of the investigation. Kerry Flynn, CNN, "Vice Media launches probe into Refinery29's toxic work environment," 18 June 2020 Altman accepted closer relations with Microsoft as a possibility but declined to elaborate. Tom Simonite, Wired, "OpenAI's Text Generator Is Going Commercial," 11 June 2020 Sydow declined to elaborate on why a residential use isn't likely at the site. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A delayed plan to convert historic Walker's Point industrial buildings into apartments has been dropped," 4 June 2020 The chief declined to elaborate on the intelligence. Ashley Remkus | Aremkus@al.com, al, "‘We did the right thing’: Huntsville law enforcement says tear gas, rubber bullets kept city from burning," 4 June 2020 The team, citing the federal privacy laws, didn't elaborate on the announcement. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers announce positive coronavirus tests, but no names," 8 July 2020 Melvin did not elaborate on why Luzardo has not been cleared to practice in a conference call Tuesday morning. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "A’s Mike Fiers cleared to practice; Jesús Luzardo still sidelined," 7 July 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

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elaborate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elaborate. Accessed 14 Aug. 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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Comments on elaborate

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