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

The event, held each year on the plaza of Media Studios North, has become a tradition that offers an end-of-summer evening to enjoy live music, sample exotic beverages, peruse an elaborate silent auction and tangle with Lady Luck. David Laurell, Burbank Leader, "On the Town: It’s no gamble: Casino event raises funds for children’s dental clinic," 16 Sep. 2019 And this year has particularly been big for elaborate proposals tailor-made for Instagram. Glamour, "All the Celebrity Engagements in 2019 (So Far)," 12 Sep. 2019 The elaborate fraisier is a dome of cake, strawberry basil jam and cream. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Odyssey Patisserie in the Third Ward sells fancy French pastries (and simpler sweets, too)," 7 Sep. 2019 Teams from architecture, engineering and construction firms have erected elaborate sculptures made of canned goods for the annual Canstruction. Daily Pilot, "Festival of Children returns to South Coast Plaza for September," 5 Sep. 2019 Police statement did not elaborate on how the crash happened. Anna Bauman, SFChronicle.com, "Burglary suspect in life-threatening condition after being struck by unmarked SFPD vehicle," 26 Aug. 2019 Still, while many cars were parked up on high ground and sandbags positioned outside some doorways, residents slowly began to resume their daily routines, less anxious that the city’s elaborate flood protection system would be overwhelmed. Jenny Jarvie, latimes.com, "Barry, now a tropical depression, soaks much of Louisiana while sparing New Orleans," 14 July 2019 The lavish maroon cape, which is two layers of fabric stitched together with an elaborate electrical system hidden inside. Devan Coggan, EW.com, "Spider-Man: Far From Home costume designer breaks down Spidey and Mysterio's new looks," 2 July 2019 The panel didn't elaborate, but the tracking would likely take place through Magic Band wristbands that also serve as your park ticket. 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

James Madsen himself is disabled, the warrant said, although police didn’t elaborate on his disability. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Son charged with cruelty after neglect of dying mother in North Canaan, state police say," 17 Sep. 2019 In interviews earlier this week, Hazen gave a boilerplate statement about the Red Sox speculation and refused to elaborate. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Arizona Diamondbacks sign General Manager Mike Hazen to contract extension," 13 Sep. 2019 Earlier in the summer, Tare admitted Milan's interest was 'positive', but has since elaborated on their approach. SI.com, "Lazio Sporting Director Reveals Why He Rejected Milan Approach in the Summer," 10 Sep. 2019 Public safety: How Jim Merritt's plan to fight crime compares to Mayor Joe Hogsett's When asked, Snyder did not elaborate on the organization's decision to endorse the candidate. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police endorses Mayor Joe Hogsett's re-election campaign," 6 Sep. 2019 During our little phoner, the on-the-rise comedian kept coming up with short-but-sweet answers, not really elaborating that much on her burgeoning career. Craig Lindsey, Houston Chronicle, "Nicole Byer, host of Netflix’s 'Nailed It!', bakes a tasty comedy career," 5 Sep. 2019 Brown refused to elaborate further, citing district-wide policies against commenting on personnel matters. Erin Woo, The Mercury News, "Evergreen Valley College president placed on leave. No one will say why," 30 Aug. 2019 Coinbase, best-known for its popular cryptocurrency exchange, prefers elaborate key-printing rituals and a Faraday cage. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "The Serious Money Is Warming to Bitcoin," 16 Aug. 2019 This work is still in its very early stages, but in the last year researchers have produced several papers which elaborate the relationship between form and function in neural networks. Quanta Magazine, "Foundations Built for a General Theory of Neural Networks," 31 Jan. 2019

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

3 Oct 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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suitable to be imparted to the public

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