elaborate

1 of 2

adjective

elab·​o·​rate i-ˈla-b(ə-)rət How to pronounce elaborate (audio)
1
: planned or carried out with great care
took elaborate precautions
2
: marked by complexity, fullness of detail, or ornateness
elaborate prose
elaborately adverb
elaborateness noun

elaborate

2 of 2

verb

elab·​o·​rate i-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt How to pronounce elaborate (audio)
elaborated; elaborating

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
elaboration noun
elaborative adjective

Example Sentences

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 vast majority of those charged, both nationally and in Ohio, are people who broke into the Capitol illegally without an elaborate plan and without harming anyone. Jessie Balmert, The Enquirer, 28 Sep. 2022 Lady Gaga spends her fortune on more than avant-garde costumes and elaborate stage sets. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 25 Sep. 2022 This means there will be no breaks that had been used to move elaborate sets between dance numbers. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 19 Sep. 2022 Under the elaborate plan, five female cheetahs and three males, between the ages of 2 and 6 years, were flown on a chartered Boeing 747 jet from Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, to Jaipur in northern India. Niha Masih, Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2022 Under the elaborate plan, five female cheetahs and three males, between the ages of 2 and 6 years, were flown on a chartered Boeing 747 jet from Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, to Gwalior in central Madhya Pradesh state. Niha Masih, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Sep. 2022 Some modern stage shows have elaborate sets or many instrumentalists on stage at one time. Patrick Connolly, Orlando Sentinel, 16 Sep. 2022 For instance, the shows often use cartoon graphics, elaborate background sets and sound effects -- such as mournful music that plays while defectors recall their past. Jessie Yeung And Yoonjung Seo, CNN, 3 Sep. 2022 Workers dismantle the elaborate sets covering the storefronts in the 200 block of Park Ave. Mary Carole Mccauley, Baltimore Sun, 31 Aug. 2022
Verb
Vos declined to elaborate on why Brandtjen was kicked out. BostonGlobe.com, 16 Nov. 2022 Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said before the game that minutes restrictions would be in play but declined to elaborate on what those restrictions would be. Lillard has missed four games with a strained calf. oregonlive, 7 Nov. 2022 McLeland declined to elaborate on whether authorities are seeking additional suspects. Aya Elamroussi, CNN, 1 Nov. 2022 Nix declined to elaborate on their status going into the playoffs. Jimmy Wigfield, al, 29 Oct. 2022 No great fortune or elaborate experimental apparatus was required. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, 2 Nov. 2022 Chair Jerome Powell will have a chance to elaborate on the outlook for future meetings at his press conference at 2:30 p.m. in Washington. Jonnelle Marte, Fortune, 2 Nov. 2022 Michael Arrington with the homicide division then stepped to the mic to elaborate on the crime scene, asking any witnesses to please come forward. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 1 Nov. 2022 Before Murphy could elaborate further, Ushkowitz and McHale ended the episode and teased the rest of the second parter airing next week. Jessica Wang, EW.com, 31 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Verb

Latin elaboratus, from past participle of elaborare to work out, acquire by labor, from e- + laborare to work — more at laboratory

First Known Use

Adjective

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1611, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of elaborate was in 1592

Dictionary Entries Near elaborate

Cite this Entry

“Elaborate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elaborate. Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

elaborate 1 of 2

adjective

elab·​o·​rate i-ˈlab-(ə-)rət How to pronounce elaborate (audio)
: made or done with great care or with much detail
elaborate plans
an elaborate design
elaborately adverb
elaborateness noun

elaborate

2 of 2

verb

elab·​o·​rate i-ˈlab-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce elaborate (audio)
elaborated; elaborating
1
: to work out in detail : develop
elaborate an idea
2
: to give more details
elaborate on a story
elaboration noun
elaborative adjective

Medical Definition

elaborate

transitive verb

elab·​o·​rate i-ˈlab-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce elaborate (audio)
elaborated; elaborating
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

More from Merriam-Webster on elaborate

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