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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 He was known for designing houses for prominent clients that were both elaborate and understated and evocative of older structures without being directly imitative of them. Paul Goldberger, New York Times, "Jaquelin Taylor Robertson, Architect and Passionate Urbanist, Dies at 88," 10 May 2020 French food boasts a rich and sweeping culinary history that includes rustic home cooking, elaborate court-dining masterpieces, and avant garde Parisian haute cuisine. Saveur Editors, Saveur, "65 Classic French Recipes to Add to Your Repertoire," 8 May 2020 To identify and eliminate opponents, the emperor set up an elaborate spy network. H. R. Mcmaster, The Atlantic, "The United States Needs a New China Strategy," 17 Apr. 2020 On Fox's smash hit The Masked Singer the elaborate costume designs and difficult choreography are always changing. Ariana Brockington, refinery29.com, "If You Still ThinkThe Masked Singer’s Banana Is A Blue Collar Comic, Read This," 5 Mar. 2020 Britain maintains an extensive, elaborate and expensive systems of barriers, gates, dams and reservoirs to combat winter flooding. William Booth, Washington Post, "Super-storm Dennis brings mass flooding to Britain and rains on Boris Johnson, too," 18 Feb. 2020 Good Old Games Tugs of nostalgia The prices at Good Old Games begin from as low as Rs100 ($1.39) and go up to Rs60,000 for the more elaborate designs. Mallik Thatipalli, Quartz India, "Children once learned ethics and life lessons from board games—then PUBG came along," 13 Nov. 2019 Even though their children were by all accounts excellent students, the Shaws pursued a remarkably elaborate and expensive pattern of philanthropy to seven of the most renowned universities in the country. Daniel Golden, ProPublica, "The Hedge Fund Billionaire’s Guide to Buying Your Kids a Better Shot at Not Just One Elite College, but Lots of Them," 28 Sep. 2019 The most elaborate social rituals include the quinceañera, the wedding, and the beauty pageant. Seth Harp, Harper's Magazine, "In Harm’s Way," 27 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Neither the queen’s statement nor the comments from the palace elaborated on the financial arrangements the Sussexes will make in their new roles, which are to begin in the spring. Steve Geimann, Bloomberg.com, "Prince Harry and Meghan Reach Deal With Royal Family and Relinquish Titles," 8 May 2020 Police have not identified the boy or elaborated on his relationship with Brogan. Steve Helling, PEOPLE.com, "South Carolina Woman Allegedly Left Boy, 7, in Hot Car While She Went to the Beach," 5 May 2020 Makeup artists, beauty editors, and influencers alike are picking up pearls left and right to create looks ranging from minimal to painstakingly elaborate. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, "The 3 Tools You Need to Create a Perfect Pearl-Studded Makeup Look," 23 Jan. 2020 The proportions of that catastrophe need not be elaborated. Conrad Black, National Review, "Soleimani Killing: A Change for the Better?," 15 Jan. 2020 The Supreme Court seemed unlikely to uphold the law, and its decision in the case would have given it an opportunity to elaborate on the scope of Second Amendment rights. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to New York City Gun Ordinance," 27 Apr. 2020 In Fort Bend County, officials there started the week by opening a second site in Sugar Land -- without elaborating where it would be housed -- addition to its testing facility at the county fairgrounds in Rosenberg. Nicole Hensley, Houston Chronicle, "Houston turns Barnett Stadium into drive-thru testing site," 27 Apr. 2020 The Supreme Court seemed unlikely to uphold the law, and its decision in the case would have given it an opportunity to elaborate on the scope of Second Amendment rights. Adam Liptak, BostonGlobe.com, "Supreme Court dismisses challenge to New York City gun ordinance," 27 Apr. 2020 Further Reading Loop quantum gravity: getting closer to reality While recent progress has greatly elaborated LQG, the idea has a long history. Conor Purcell, Ars Technica, "Can we craft a theory in which space and time aren’t assumed to exist?," 20 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for elaborate

Time Traveler

The first known use of elaborate was in 1592

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Statistics for elaborate

Last Updated

15 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elaborate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elaborate. Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for elaborate

elaborate

adjective
How to pronounce elaborate (audio)

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
How to pronounce elaborate (audio)

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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