Definition of elicit
- her remarks elicited cheers
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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.
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.
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."
First Known Use: 1605See Words from the same year
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to cause to suffer severely from hunger
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