elic·​it i-ˈli-sət How to pronounce elicit (audio)
elicited; eliciting; elicits

transitive verb

: to call forth or draw out (something, such as information or a response)
her remarks elicited cheers
: to draw forth or bring out (something latent or potential)
hypnotism elicited his hidden fears
elicitation noun
elicitor noun

Did you know?

The Latin Roots of Elicit

Elicit comes from the Latin verb elicere, from the prefix e-, meaning "away," and lacere, "to entice by charm or attraction."

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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Typically, this would elicit worry from internationalists, including the Democrats, as, in recent years, Democrats are pro-European, while Trump and the MAGA MAGA -0.2% Republicans love to bash Europe for insufficient military expenditure. Ariel Cohen, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 For many, bringing up ROI generally elicits a look of disgust. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, 20 Feb. 2024 Posting in retaliation or to elicit a reaction will probably derail the grieving process. Isle McElroy, The Atlantic, 16 Feb. 2024 At another moment, a voicemail like that from Girardi might have elicited caution, even alarm. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 12 Feb. 2024 His speech Wednesday leaned heavily on working toward solving those and other problems together with lawmakers — including with some lighter moments that elicited laughs in the packed House of Delegates chamber in the historic State House. Sam Janesch, Baltimore Sun, 7 Feb. 2024 Such an approach naturally elicits warm fuzzies, making for a sublime streaming pleasure. Chris Snellgrove, EW.com, 3 Feb. 2024 Few things are more prosaic and humble, yet at the same time capable of eliciting so many emotions, as a Duralex glass. Cecilia Casero, Vogue, 29 Jan. 2024 Such praise might elicit from David a moue of displeasure. M.d. Rodrigues, New York Times, 7 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'elicit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of elicit was in 1605


Dictionary Entries Near elicit

Cite this Entry

“Elicit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elicit. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


elic·​it i-ˈlis-ət How to pronounce elicit (audio)
: to draw out often by skillful questioning or discussion
elicit the truth from a witness
elicitation noun
elicitor noun

More from Merriam-Webster on elicit

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