elic·it | \i-ˈli-sət \
elicited; eliciting; elicits

Definition of elicit 

transitive verb

1 : to call forth or draw out (something, such as information or a response) her remarks elicited cheers

2 : to draw forth or bring out (something latent or potential) hypnotism elicited his hidden fears

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Other Words from elicit

elicitation \i-ˌli-sə-ˈtā-shən, ˌē- \ noun
elicitor \i-ˈli-sə-tər \ noun

Synonyms for elicit


educe, evoke, inspire, raise

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Choose the Right Synonym for elicit

educe, evoke, elicit, extract, extort mean to draw out something hidden, latent, or reserved. educe implies the bringing out of something potential or latent. educed order out of chaos evoke implies a strong stimulus that arouses an emotion or an interest or recalls an image or memory. a song that evokes warm memories elicit usually implies some effort or skill in drawing forth a response. careful questioning elicited the truth extract implies the use of force or pressure in obtaining answers or information. extracted a confession from him extort suggests a wringing or wresting from one who resists strongly. extorted their cooperation by threatening to inform

The Latin Roots of Elicit

Elicit derives from the past participle of the Latin verb elicere, formed by combining the prefix e- (meaning "away") with the verb lacere, meaning "to entice by charm or attraction." It is not related to its near-homophone, the adjective illicit—that word, meaning "unlawful," traces back to another Latin verb, licēre, meaning "to be permitted." Nor is elicit related to the verb solicit, even though it sounds like it should be. Solicit derives from Latin sollicitare ("to disturb"), formed by combining the adjective sollus, meaning "whole," with the past participle of the verb ciēre, meaning "to move."

Examples of elicit in a Sentence

If ever there was a two-way pleasure street, it's the delight a baby takes in being tickled and the joy the parent experiences in the tumble of laughter it elicits. — Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 17 Jan. 2005 Gingrich elicits perhaps the greatest sympathy when he talks about the challenge of graduating from a rabble-rousing backbencher in the House minority to presiding over (and trying to control) the first Republican majority in 40 years. — Richard L. Berke, New York Times Book Review, 17 May 1998 In a wild, captive wolf that is not socialized to man, approach will elicit flight and, if the wolf is cornered, a defensive reaction may be triggered, which is termed the critical-distance reaction. — Michael W. Fox, The Soul of the Wolf, 1980 She's been trying to elicit the support of other committee members. My question elicited no response. She's been unable to elicit much sympathy from the public.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Senate report concluded that the techniques didn’t elicit any useful information from Abu Zubaydah. Chris Megerian, latimes.com, "The CIA closed its original 'black site' years ago. But its legacy of torture lives on in Thailand," 22 Apr. 2018 Every flurry of a roadie's scramble elicited hopeful cheers — and when several guitars were brought back onto the stage, the place erupted with high-fives and leaps and hugs and screams. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Jack White tried to skip 'Seven Nation Army.' His Milwaukee fans wouldn't let him," 21 Apr. 2018 Laughter elicited by fond memories of Alex mixed in with the sound of crying. Max Londberg And Joe Robertson, kansascity, "Shawnee Mission East students hold vigil, comfort family of teen taking final breaths," 14 Feb. 2018 As with the previous apparel that elicited complaints, the shirts were sold by a third-party vendor. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Walmart Was Once Again Forced to Pull an Offensive Shirt From Its Website," 12 July 2018 Every fantasy owner in every draft wants to make the pick that elicits oohs and aahs from their leaguemates. Michael Beller, SI.com, "Fantasy Football 2018: The Boring All-Star Team," 10 July 2018 Lionel Colón did not respond to a question Friday about what the unarmed man was doing that elicited lethal force when officers arrived. Max Londberg, kansascity, "'You could see bullets flying': Video, witness depict downtown KC police shooting," 15 June 2018 In addition, the school’s drama department director, Melody Herzfeld, who was honored with the excellence in theater education award, gave a speech that also elicited raucous applause. Allyson Chiu, Washington Post, "Tony Awards: Parkland students’ emotional performance brings audience to its feet," 11 June 2018 In 2015, the county’s only black commissioner reported what appeared to be racial profiling by an undercover officer — a complaint that elicited a shrug from her fellow commissioners. Aaron Gell, Longreads, "Did Brian Easley Have to Die?," 9 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elicit.' 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 elicit

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for elicit

Latin elicitus, past participle of elicere, from e- + lacere to allure

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Statistics for elicit

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for elicit

The first known use of elicit was in 1605

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English Language Learners Definition of elicit

: to get (a response, information, etc.) from someone

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Comments on elicit

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not any or not one

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