1

elaborate

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

Definition of elaborate

  1. 1 :  planned or carried out with great care <took elaborate precautions>

  2. 2 :  marked by complexity, fullness of detail, or ornateness <elaborate prose>

elaborately

adverb

elaborateness

noun

Examples of elaborate in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. They made elaborate preparations for his visit.

  5. I see now that her behavior was all part of an elaborate plan.

  6. The dancers were wearing elaborate costumes.

  7. He told the story in elaborate detail.

Origin and Etymology of elaborate

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


First Known Use: 1592


2

elaborate

play
verb elab·o·rate \i-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt\

Definition of elaborate

elaborated

elaborating

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to produce by labor

  3. 2 :  to build up (as complex organic compounds) from simple ingredients

  4. 3 :  to work out in detail :  develop <elaborate a theory>

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to become elaborate (see 1elaborate)

  7. 2 :  to expand something in detail <would you care to elaborate on that statement>

elaboration

play \-ˌla-bə-ˈrā-shən\ noun

elaborative

play \-ˈla-bə-ˌrā-tiv\ adjective

Examples of elaborate in a sentence

  1. … 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

  2. 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

  3. I'll be glad to elaborate if you want to hear more.

  4. She was asked to say more about her earlier statements, but she declined to elaborate.

Origin and Etymology of elaborate

(see 1elaborate)


First Known Use: 1611


ELABORATE Defined for English Language Learners

1

elaborate

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

Definition of elaborate for English Language Learners

  • : made or done with great care or with much detail : having many parts that are carefully arranged or planned


2

elaborate

play
verb elab·o·rate \i-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt\

Definition of elaborate for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

elaborate

play
adjective elab·o·rate \i-ˈla-bə-rət, -ˈla-brət\

Definition of elaborate for Students

  1. :  made or done with great care or with much detail <an elaborate ceremony>

elaborately

adverb

2

elaborate

play
verb elab·o·rate \i-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt\

Definition of elaborate for Students

elaborated

elaborating

  1. 1 :  to give more details about <Would you elaborate on what happened?>

  2. 2 :  to work out in detail <He elaborated his ideas.>


Medical Dictionary

elaborate

play
transitive verb elab·o·rate \i-ˈlab-ə-ˌrāt\

Medical Definition of elaborate

elaborated

;

elaborating

  1. 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>



Seen and Heard

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 search out and expose misconduct

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • alphabet-magnets
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ