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

Keep scrolling for more

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

blow-by-blow, circumstantial, detailed, full, minute, particular, particularized, thorough

Synonyms: Verb

develop, evolve, unfold

Antonyms: Adjective

compendious, summary

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Eugenie Skipped the Veil Eugenie broke with tradition, skipping the veil and wearing just the elaborate Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara instead. Kate Storey, Town & Country, "How Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's Wedding Compares to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's," 12 Oct. 2018 When the day comes for Will to step up and become King, he'll be celebrated with a huge, elaborate coronation ceremony. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Here's Why Kate Middleton's Coronation Ceremony Will Be Low-Key When She Becomes Queen Consort," 1 Sep. 2018 When Queen Nefertari died some 3,000 years ago, she was buried in an elaborate tomb adorned with beautiful, intricate wall paintings. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Take a VR Tour of an Egyptian Queen’s Elaborate Tomb," 12 July 2018 The Los Angeles artist is transforming the museum project room into a stage — or perhaps an elaborate green room — for collective works that explore issues of migration and colonization. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Datebook: Shots of old Route 66, dreamlike paintings and garments fashioned from paper," 12 July 2018 So Lei devised elaborate ways to fiddle with anything high-tech. Charlie Cambell/beijing, Time, "Lei Jun Wants to Be China’s Answer to Steve Jobs. But Trump’s Trade War Is Getting In His Way," 12 July 2018 The painting was done near the beginning of the 20th century as an elaborate way to frame the temple's 11 famous murals. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "What’s behind ’60s-era paneling at El Korah Shrine? A ballroom’s worth of ’20s art.," 12 July 2018 Soybean plants pictured in Urbana, Ill. A group of black soybean farmers from the South say a company intentionally sold them defective seeds in an elaborate scheme to place them at a disadvantage because of their race. Kristine Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "Black soybean farmers say they were deliberately sold defective seeds because of their race," 12 July 2018 The audience learns early on that Annie is an artist who works from home making elaborate miniatures. Katherine Fusco, The Atlantic, "Hereditary and the Monstrousness of Creative Moms," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Adams said the gunman had an escape plan, too, but would not elaborate. Brian Witte, BostonGlobe.com, "Suspect in newsroom rampage investigated for threats in 2013," 29 June 2018 Barrios would not elaborate on the investigation, calling it a personnel matter. Cynthia Hubert, sacbee, "Here's what a new California law says about teaching abortion in class," 14 June 2018 White House press secretary Sarah Sanders would not elaborate on the statement Thursday when pressed by reporters. Mj Lee And Cristina Alesci, CNN, "Trump failure to disclose Cohen payments last year raises red flags, experts say," 17 May 2018 Local police would not elaborate on what followed, citing state privacy law on juveniles. Alexandra Villarreal, The Christian Science Monitor, "In wake of shootings, schools grapple with how to handle violent threats," 17 May 2018 Drybar's spokeswoman would not elaborate on what the bill's provisions were when the company did support it. Richard Ruelas, azcentral, "Blow dryers and bullies: How haircuts became a major issue for Gov. Doug Ducey," 5 Apr. 2018 Responding to a question from the press, Trump acknowledged that the pipeline did come up in the meeting, but would not elaborate further. Tessa Berenson / Brussels, Time, "Russia Casts Shadow Over President Trump's NATO Meetings," 11 July 2018 Disgusting’ lawsuit Pinkerton, the victim’s lawyer, said the rodeo had offered a settlement but would not elaborate on those discussions. Gabrielle Banks, Houston Chronicle, "Trail ride rape victim fighting countersuit by Houston Rodeo," 3 July 2018 Katherine Langford, who plays Hannah Baker, wears an all-black, elaborate get-up fit for a mysterious Charleston widow looking for a new start in in the year 1936. refinery29.com, "Why Did 13RW's Clay Jensen Walk The Red Carpet Alone In A T-Shirt?," 19 June 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.

See More

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

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

Verb

see elaborate entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about elaborate

Dictionary Entries near elaborate

Ekurhuleni

el

El'brus

elaborate

elaborater

elaboratory

Elachistaceae

Statistics for elaborate

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for elaborate

The first known use of elaborate was in 1592

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on elaborate

What made you want to look up elaborate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!