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

Moscow police said only that an emergency medical squad was summoned and found that Golunov should be taken a hospital for examination, but did not elaborate. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov hospitalized 2 days after his arrest," 8 June 2019 Tonight, the duo are now attending as husband and wife after tying the knot in multiple elaborate ceremonies back in December. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Look Unreal at the 2019 Met Gala," 7 May 2019 Last month, Nick tied the knot with actress Priyanka Chopra in an elaborate ceremony in India. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Demi Lovato is Reportedly Very "Upset" That She Wasn't Invited to Nick Jonas' Wedding," 26 Dec. 2018 Robert drew up an illustrious guest list and organized an elaborate ceremony that involved an exchange of vows and even a brief kiss between the children. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Joanna of Naples," 3 July 2018 But Pooh, though self-professedly dense, is still able to participate in adventures that require elaborate, if often misguided, planning, and is aware, besides, of his own intellectual limitations. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "Mog the Cat and the Mysteries of Animal Subjectivity," 20 June 2019 Grossman and Fuchs’s elaborate proposal, it could be argued, is just another example of the insidiousness of influencer culture, wherein life’s most momentous events are only important to the extent that they can be exploited for cash and clout. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "This viral “surprise” proposal shows the less glamorous side of influencing," 20 June 2019 The spaces range from elaborate landscaping in front of lakeside homes to intimate private spots in back yards. Taylor Hartz, chicagotribune.com, "Evanston's Garden Walk inspires backyard gardeners," 17 June 2019 Labs in those days used lots of elaborate liquid chromatography and other equipment that had to be washed and sterilized by hand, so his was an important job. Bulletin Board, Twin Cities, "Sunday Bulletin Board: There’s always something new to find in this ordinary old farmhouse," 16 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But on Friday, Julia Tomlin, 34, was arrested on three counts of felony child neglect in connection with the boy's disappearance, police said without elaborating. Jason Hanna And Carma Hassan, CNN, "Virginia police believe they've found the remains of missing 2-year-old Noah Tomlin," 3 July 2019 Lexi, who played Tony Stark’s daughter Morgan in Avengers: Endgame, recently begged fans to stop bullying her and her family, and on Wednesday, elaborated on a run-in with a fan that left her feeling down. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "Avengers Child Actress Recalls Being Told How to Act in Public By Fan: ‘I’m Just a Normal Kid’," 26 June 2019 Ultimately, the authors suggest, primate laughter was gradually co-opted and elaborated through human biological and cultural evolution in several stages. Giovanni Sabato, Scientific American, "What’s So Funny? The Science of Why We Laugh," 26 June 2019 Hughes elaborated on the potential dangers of this plan in an op-ed for the Financial Times (paywall): [Libra’s] sponsors are right that a liquid, stable currency would be attractive to many in emerging markets. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "What could possibly go wrong with Facebook’s Libra?," 22 June 2019 Mack elaborated on the address to his team in a press conference following Xavier's elimination. Patrick Brennan, Cincinnati.com, "Florida State surges late, dumps No. 1 Xavier out of the NCAA Tournament in shock upset," 18 Mar. 2018 Beckwitt went to elaborate lengths to keep the project a secret. Michael Kunzelman, BostonGlobe.com, "Millionaire gets 9 years for deadly fire above tunnels," 17 June 2019 Beckwitt went to elaborate lengths to keep the project a secret. Michael Kunzelman, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland millionaire gets 9 years in death of man building nuclear bunker tunnels," 17 June 2019 Beckwitt went to elaborate lengths to keep the project a secret. Michael Kunzelman, Fortune, "Wealthy Stock Trader Convicted of Murder Won't Get New Trial," 13 June 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

11 Jul 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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