adjective el·o·quent \ˈe-lə-kwənt\

Definition of eloquent

  1. 1 :  marked by forceful and fluent expression an eloquent preacher

  2. 2 :  vividly or movingly expressive or revealing an eloquent monument



eloquent was our Word of the Day on 01/18/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of eloquent in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. His success serves as an eloquent reminder of the value of hard work.

  5. an eloquent writer and speaker, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the founders of the women's rights movement

Did You Know?

Since "eloquent" can have to do with speaking, it makes sense that it comes from the Latin verb loqui, which means "to speak." "Loqui" is the parent of many "talkative" offspring in English. "Loquacious," which means "given to fluent or excessive talk," also arose from "loqui." Another "loqui" relative is "circumlocution," a word that means someone is talking around a subject to avoid making a direct statement (circum- means "around"). And a "ventriloquist" is someone who makes his or her voice sound like it’s coming from another source.

Origin and Etymology of eloquent

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin eloquent-, eloquens, from present participle of eloqui to speak out, from e- + loqui to speak

First Known Use: 14th century

ELOQUENT Defined for English Language Learners


adjective el·o·quent \ˈe-lə-kwənt\

Definition of eloquent for English Language Learners

  • : having or showing the ability to use language clearly and effectively

  • : clearly showing feeling or meaning

ELOQUENT Defined for Kids


adjective el·o·quent \ˈe-lə-kwənt\

Definition of eloquent for Students

  1. 1 :  having or showing clear and forceful expression an eloquent speaker an eloquent plan

  2. 2 :  clearly showing some feeling or meaning an eloquent look



Word Root of eloquent

The Latin word loquī, meaning “to talk” or “to speak,” and its form locūtus give us the roots locu and loqu. Words from the Latin loquī have something to do with talking. An eloquent speaker speaks clearly and well. Elocution is the art of speaking or reading well in public. A ventriloquist is a person who speaks so that the voice seems to come from elsewhere.

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