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 And the announcement event will be more elaborate than in years past. Paul Grein, Billboard, "The 2021 Grammy Awards Nominations Have an Announcement Date," 21 Oct. 2020 Come away inspired, and consider making ever-more-elaborate teatime cookie spooks: vampires, jack-o’-lanterns or even Freddy Kruegers. Adriana Balsamo, New York Times, "Become a Dessert Person and Face the Haunts in Edith Wharton’s Home," 17 Oct. 2020 Stuff some old clothes to make a headless scarecrow ... or invest in something more elaborate like an inflatable. Jeanette Marantos, Star Tribune, "How to safely celebrate Halloween," 16 Oct. 2020 In Ohio, county election boards have put elaborate plans in place to keep voters safe during in-person voting that began Oct. 6, Ohio Association of Election Officials spokesman Aaron Ockerman said. Arkansas Online, "Virus surges in key battleground states as election nears," 16 Oct. 2020 There are several characteristics that differentiate shibori from American tie-dye, namely that the pattern is typically much more elaborate. Stefanie Waldek, House Beautiful, "What Is Shibori?," 8 Oct. 2020 Event organizers said costumes don’t need to be elaborate. Carol Kovach, cleveland, "West Park parishes host socially distanced blessing of animals: A Place in the Sun," 5 Oct. 2020 Occasionally, the ruse is more elaborate, involving a fictitious business, with phony business cards, e-mail addresses, and social-media accounts. Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, "Why Private Eyes Are Everywhere Now," 28 Sep. 2020 Their new target is Kris Jenner, and boy, is the scheme elaborate. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Here’s The Only Interesting Thing That Happened During The KUWTK Premiere," 18 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb No video platform—no matter how innovative the technology or elaborate the marketing—will work without stuff viewers want to watch. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "Why Quibi failed," 23 Sep. 2020 Ginsburg wrote fiery dissents and wore colorful and elaborate jabots over her black robes that became known as dissent collars. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Michiganders called to action, activism in wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death," 22 Sep. 2020 Later, movie theaters placed cardboard cutout figures of the Supreme Court justice in lobbies so attendees could take selfies with their heads framed by her black robe and elaborate lace collar. Vanessa Friedman New York Times, Star Tribune, "RBG's ladylike collars were gauntlets thrown down each time she took the bench," 21 Sep. 2020 People really needed to elaborate on personal things in their lives and in their careers. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "“I Love My Social Media Presence”: Tiffany Pollard on Being the Meme Queen and Her New Show," 21 Sep. 2020 Later, movie theaters placed cardboard cutout figures of the Supreme Court Justice in lobbies so attendees could take selfies with their heads framed by her black robe and elaborate lace collar. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Lace Collar Wasn’t an Accessory, It Was a Gauntlet," 20 Sep. 2020 Gatewood has declined to elaborate on his specific case for a waiver to the NCAA's normal requirement that FBS transfers sit out a year, but UK coaches have expressed confidence throughout the summer Gatewood would be cleared to play by the NCAA. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "What we know about former Auburn QB Joey Gatewood's transfer waiver for Kentucky," 26 Sep. 2020 Marina Medvin, another lawyer on Mr. Rittenhouse’s team, declined to elaborate on the legal complexities cited by Mr. Pierce. Joe Barrett, WSJ, "Kyle Rittenhouse Attorneys Plan to Fight Extradition to Wisconsin," 25 Sep. 2020 Tegnell declined to elaborate on what measures could be taken to stem the spread of the disease in the capital. Niclas Rolander, Bloomberg.com, "Sweden Could Introduce Restrictions in Stockholm After Uptick," 22 Sep. 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

26 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elaborate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elaborate. Accessed 26 Oct. 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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