elu·​ci·​date i-ˈlü-sə-ˌdāt How to pronounce elucidate (audio)
elucidated; elucidating

transitive verb

: to make lucid especially by explanation or analysis
elucidate a text

intransitive verb

: to give a clarifying explanation
elucidation noun
elucidative adjective

Did you know?

Elucidate comes from the Latin term lucidus, which means "lucid." Lucidus, in turn, comes from the verb lucēre, meaning "to shine." So elucidating can be thought of as the figurative equivalent of shining a light on something to make it easier to see.

Choose the Right Synonym for elucidate

explain, expound, explicate, elucidate, interpret mean to make something clear or understandable.

explain implies a making plain or intelligible what is not immediately obvious or entirely known.

explain the rules

expound implies a careful often elaborate explanation.

expounding a scientific theory

explicate adds the idea of a developed or detailed analysis.

explicate a poem

elucidate stresses the throwing of light upon as by offering details or motives previously unclear or only implicit.

elucidate an obscure passage

interpret adds to explain the need for imagination or sympathy or special knowledge in dealing with something.

interpreting a work of art

Examples of elucidate in a Sentence

When asked for details, he declined to elucidate further. colored charts that really help to elucidate the points made in the text
Recent Examples on the Web In this spirit, studies of urbanization in birds, including my research, are usually designed to elucidate its detrimental effects. Anders Brodin, Scientific American, 25 June 2024 With features that deliver sophisticated care to every strand, this section elucidates the dryer's ability to emit negative ions and maintain consistent temperature control. Molly Peck, USA TODAY, 20 Apr. 2024 This year’s Father Noir project continues to feature images of celebrity dads who are elucidating those findings, including actor and singer Rotimi, P-Valley star J. Alphonse Nicholson, NBA player John Wall, Zatima actor Devale Ellis, and singer-songwriter Eric Bellinger. Elizabeth Ayoola, Essence, 14 June 2024 Regarding the negotiations that began in 1968 and ultimately yielded the Paris peace accords in January 1973, Nguyen exhaustively elucidates the twists and turns in the North's bargaining posture. Fredrik Logevall, Foreign Affairs, 24 Oct. 2012 See all Example Sentences for elucidate 

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

Word History


Late Latin elucidatus, past participle of elucidare, from Latin e- + lucidus lucid

First Known Use

circa 1568, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of elucidate was circa 1568


Dictionary Entries Near elucidate

Cite this Entry

“Elucidate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elucidate. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


elu·​ci·​date i-ˈlü-sə-ˌdāt How to pronounce elucidate (audio)
elucidated; elucidating
: to make clear or plain : explain
elucidation noun
elucidative adjective
elucidator noun

More from Merriam-Webster on elucidate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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