el·​o·​quent ˈe-lə-kwənt How to pronounce eloquent (audio)
: marked by forceful and fluent expression
an eloquent preacher
: vividly or movingly expressive or revealing
an eloquent monument
eloquently adverb

Did you know?

Since eloquent has to do with speaking, it makes sense that it comes from the Latin verb loquī, which means "to talk or speak." (The adjective loquacious describes a person who is skilled at or has the inclination for talking.) Expression of the self can be seen and not heard, which gives meaning to eloquent as an adjective for nonverbal impressive acts.

Example Sentences

He [H. L. Mencken] relished the vagaries of vernacular speech and paid eloquent homage to them in The American Language. Jackson Lears, New Republic, 27 Jan. 2003 Samuel Johnson is palmed off in classrooms as a harmless drudge of a lexicographer, yet open the Dictionary anywhere and find precision and eloquent plainness. Guy Davenport, The Geography of the Imagination, (1954) 1981 There was a burst of applause, and a deep silence which was even more eloquent than the applause. Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge, 1886 His success serves as an eloquent reminder of the value of hard work. an eloquent writer and speaker, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the founders of the women's rights movement
Recent Examples on the Web Not all of these daredevil directorial moves are eloquent, and the Ahmanson’s large proscenium stage objectifies the production in a way that distances the audience and subjects the shows to a more detached type of scrutiny. Charles Mcnulty, Los Angeles Times, 16 Sep. 2022 This book gives dramatic and eloquent expression to veterans and their families in search of redemption and peace. Stefanie Milligan, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Oct. 2022 There were softly elegant and eloquent runs of sophisticated soul leaned against hot-wired Orleans parish piano rolls. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 23 Sep. 2022 This makes for surprisingly eloquent and compelling reading. Claire Messud, Harper’s Magazine , 17 Aug. 2022 Within the space of a close-up (the film was shot by Alfonso Herrera Salcedo), the sorrowful gleam in Faye’s eyes and the lines etched in her brow tell a moving and eloquent story, even before the movie itself makes some of that story explicit. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2022 On Sunday, soprano Latonia Moore, in lovely voice, gave the work a sympathetic and eloquent performance, ably supported by Nelsons and the BSO. Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, 25 July 2022 To me, Doc’s work has always reflected a very simple but eloquent perspective on life. Jeff Wagner, The Enquirer, 17 June 2022 Some of the chorus members are more eloquent when not speaking. Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eloquent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin ēloquent-, ēloquens "capable of speech, expressing oneself fluently," from present participle of ēloquī "to utter, put into words," from ē- e- entry 1 + loquī "to talk, speak," probably going back to dialectal Indo-European *tlokw- "talk," whence also Old Irish ad-tluichethar "(s/he) gives thanks" (originally with buide "thanks" as object, as in atluchedar buidi do Día "he thanks God"), do-tluichethar "(s/he) desires, beseeches, asks," Old Church Slavic tlŭk "interpreter" (from *tl̥kw-o-)

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of eloquent was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near eloquent

Cite this Entry

“Eloquent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eloquent. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



el·​o·​quent ˈel-ə-kwənt How to pronounce eloquent (audio)
: having or showing clear and forceful expression
an eloquent speaker
an eloquent essay
: clearly showing some feeling or meaning
an eloquent look
eloquently adverb

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