verb elic·it \i-ˈli-sət\

Definition of elicit

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to draw forth or bring out (something latent or potential) hypnotism elicited his hidden fears

  3. 2 :  to call forth or draw out (something, such as information or a response) her remarks elicited cheers


play \i-ˌli-sə-ˈtā-shən, ˌē-\ noun


play \i-ˈli-sə-tər\ noun

elicit was our Word of the Day on 11/10/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of elicit in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. She's been trying to elicit the support of other committee members.

  5. My question elicited no response.

  6. She's been unable to elicit much sympathy from the public.

Did You Know?

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."

Origin and Etymology of elicit

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

First Known Use: 1605

Synonym Discussion of 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

ELICIT Defined for English Language Learners


verb elic·it \i-ˈli-sət\

Definition of elicit for English Language Learners

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

Seen and Heard

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to cast off or become cast off

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