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

Rumor has it that Rumer Willis is behind one of the elaborate disguises on the new hit show The Masked Singer. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Rumer Willis Confirms If She's the Lion on 'The Masked Singer'," 28 Jan. 2019 The identical 'grams feature a series of photos from their Mehendi ceremony, a pre-wedding event in which the bride has henna applied in elaborate designs. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Are Married and They're Sharing Pictures from Their Wedding Weekend," 1 Dec. 2018 By announcing the games so far in advance, the IOC has provided more runway for developers to plan more elaborate projects. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Will LA’s ‘no-build’ Olympics spur Southern California’s next building boom?," 10 July 2018 While elaborate acts of wooing are all fine and good, sometimes, the best way to connect with someone is cuddled on the couch. refinery29.com, "The Perfect Date Night (Or Netflix & Chill) Movies," 2 July 2018 The rest of the graduating class joins in halfway through the song, all standing at once for a series of more elaborate moves. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "'We can get along if we try': Watch NC teens' 'inspirational' graduation stunt," 11 June 2018 As part of the elaborate plan, this second Chinese firm would form a joint venture with an Italian company to establish a market presence in China, trading on the Italian firm’s known manufacturing abilities, the indictment continues. Kate O’keeffe, WSJ, "Former Coke Scientist Accused of Stealing Trade Secrets for Chinese Venture," 14 Feb. 2019 Kylie recently posted a slideshow of the elaborate party on Instagram. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Travis Scott Just Gave Kylie Jenner the Most INSANE Valentine's Day Gift," 13 Feb. 2019 There is no elaborate society built, no infrastructure restored. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The Walking Dead has condemned itself for all time," 5 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 But Halloween 2019 is just over a year away: plenty of time to build something really elaborate. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "This Halloween, use a 3D-printed prop to complete your last-minute costume," 27 Oct. 2018 Kavanaugh said Thursday, when given the chance to elaborate on Harris' question from a day earlier. Alex Pappas | Fox News, Fox News, "‘Confidential’ Kavanaugh emails posted by Cory Booker were cleared, despite dramatic claim of defying rules," 2 Oct. 2018 Does Josh Christopher elaborate anymore on a Mizzou visit? Alex Schiffer, kansascity, "This week in Mizzou recruiting: Updates on Terrence Hargrove, Jack Buford and more," 5 July 2018 The decision Tuesday -- which Runcie has declined to elaborate on -- came after the school initially sought to bring Medina and Taylor back. Greg Norman, Fox News, "2 Parkland baseball coaches who failed to confront Nikolas Cruz first to lose jobs over massacre," 27 June 2018 Rogers declined to elaborate on why the boy chose to climb the substation pole, which is located off Beaver Dam Road in Plymouth. J.d. Capelouto, BostonGlobe.com, "15-year-old in serious condition after falling 25 feet from power line in Plymouth," 26 June 2018 The opinion doesn't elaborate on what those allegations were. Everton Bailey Jr., OregonLive.com, "Devonte Hart's aunt fought -- and lost -- battle for custody, court records show," 12 Apr. 2018 The president does not elaborate on the Post's alleged role nor mention that the newspaper has aggressively covered his administration. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "Trump: 'Washington Post' should register as lobbyist over Amazon's postal 'scam'," 31 Mar. 2018

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

21 Mar 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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