elaborate

adjective
elab·​o·​rate | \ i-ˈla-b(ə-)rət \

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 \
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 \ noun
elaborative \ i-​ˈla-​bə-​ˌrā-​tiv \ 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

Basically, celebrities perform on stage in super elaborate costumes, disguising their voices. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Fans Are Dying Over This Accidental "Riverdale" and "The Masked Singer" Crossover," 17 Jan. 2019 The reality competition show focuses on 12 celebrities who are all completely disguised by elaborate costumes. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "All 'The Masked Singer' Reveals and Best Fan Theories We Know So Far," 14 Jan. 2019 Sources indicated to Ars Technica that 4J's relationship with Minecraft will continue but did not elaborate. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Minecraft lays its last brick on Xbox 360, other last-gen consoles," 19 Dec. 2018 But the experience of watching Pose is far different, thanks to its brilliant use of ballroom performances, in which the characters dance, pose, and vogue in elaborate costumes, setaround a new theme with every new gathering. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "From Succession to Pose, Sharp Objects to Castle Rock, this summer has featured some terrific TV.," 1 Sep. 2018 Dressed in a variety of pastel shades, the band took the no-frills route for their performance, opting for no elaborate costumes or staging, just pure soaring guitar leads and vocalist Sameer Gadhi's sweltering falsetto. Sam Tornow, Billboard, "Young the Giant Perform Expansive New Song, 'Simplify' Live on 'The Late Show': Watch," 13 July 2018 The firm also found that the business school provided false information to U.S. News about other programs, but did not elaborate. Susan Snyder, Philly.com, "Temple business dean forced out over falsified MBA data used in rankings," 9 July 2018 Police said that officers had been called to Darwish’s condo before, but did not elaborate. Lyndsay Winkley, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Gunman who shot two San Diego officers identified, has violent history," 25 June 2018 The Vatican said the bishops had agreed to short, medium and long-term changes in order to restore justice and Church unity, but did not elaborate. NBC News, "34 Chilean bishops offer mass resignation to pope over abuse scandal," 18 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Sawant’s characterization of the contract, but would not elaborate. Heidi Groover, The Seattle Times, "With contract talks still stalled, Seattle EMTs set strike deadline of Dec. 21," 11 Dec. 2018 User FeminineImperative mentioned it in a comment but didn't elaborate on its benefits. Devon Abelman, Allure, "The Best Drugstore Foundations for Combination Skin According to Reddit," 25 Aug. 2018 The commission has contracted with UT Health San Antonio to develop a design for the new campus, but did not elaborate on the plans or the timeline for replacement. Austin Horn, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio State Hospital to add 40 beds for mental-health patients," 7 July 2018 After their detention, police raided five homes over the weekend but did not elaborate on the results. NBC News, "Giuliani attended French event where terror plot thwarted," 2 July 2018 Facebook has an immense amount of data on its users, but Zuckerberg didn't elaborate what the new dating features would use. Emily Bamforth, cleveland.com, "Facebook is adding dating features, pushing into Tinder and OKCupid's territory," 1 May 2018 French elaborated on the shift in perception to Allure, explaining that some employers who once forbade tattoos have more or less removed that rule from their employee handbooks. Marci Robin, Allure, "Tattoos May Improve Your Chances of Getting a Job, So Feel Free to Rub That in Your Judgmental Relative's Face," 13 Aug. 2018 In a separate thread, an organizer named Brendan Orsinger elaborated on how the event was removed. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A shadowy influence campaign on Facebook is targeting liberal activists," 1 Aug. 2018 The cousin of Princes Harry and William elaborated on her health challenge on the appeal's website. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "Princess Eugenie Instagrams X-rays depicting her battle with scoliosis for the first time," 2 July 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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Learn More about elaborate

Dictionary Entries near elaborate

Ekurhuleni

el

El'brus

elaborate

elaborater

elaboratory

Elachistaceae

Statistics for elaborate

Last Updated

7 Feb 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 , -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 \
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 \
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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