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

Essential Meaning of elucidate

formal : to make (something that is hard to understand) clear or easy to understand The spokesman was asked to elucidate [=clarify, explain] the government's policies (to/for us). When asked for details, he declined to elucidate further.

Full Definition of elucidate

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to give a clarifying explanation

Other Words from elucidate

elucidation \ i-​ˌlü-​sə-​ˈdā-​shən How to pronounce elucidate (audio) \ noun
elucidative \ i-​ˈlü-​sə-​ˌdā-​tiv How to pronounce elucidate (audio) \ adjective

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

Did you know?

To elucidate is to make something clear that was formerly murky or confusing—and it is perfectly clear how the modern term got that meaning. Elucidate traces to the Latin term lucidus, which means "lucid." Lucidus, in turn, descends 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. Lucēre has also produced other shining offspring in English. Among its descendants are lucid itself (which can mean "shining," "clear-headed," or "easily understood"), lucent (meaning "giving off light" or "easily seen through"), and translucent (meaning "partly transparent" or "clear enough for light to pass through").

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 If your marketer or team does not focus on the brand promise and elucidate it in the brand experience and messaging, then your branding means nothing to your customers. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2021 The Verge claims to have gotten its hands on Netflix internal documents which elucidate some of the ways in which the company attempted to mitigate the damage caused by Cuties. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 28 Oct. 2021 The show also features an illuminating array of several dozen contextual objects — everything from letters and medallions to engravings, ornamental hat badges and recent X-ray analyses — that elucidate Holbein’s working habits. Los Angeles Times, 26 Oct. 2021 Financial data is infamously one of the largest data sets in the world and endlessly complicated, so seeing it in easy-to-process graphs instead of raw metrics helps elucidate. Noah Mitsuhashi, Forbes, 25 Oct. 2021 Ultimately, these powerful entities exist to elucidate the human condition and our relationship with forces beyond our control, ideas to which Gutiérrez applies his own philosophy. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 22 Oct. 2021 Their blooms elucidate the first warm day of the season as not just a feeling, but a fact. Sara Tardiff, Vogue, 10 Sep. 2021 Among the institutional initiatives included in the Rijksmuseum’s exhibition is the use of some 70 new labels throughout the museum to elucidate the hidden or little-known connections of historic art works to slavery. Washington Post, 10 June 2021 Fundamental research is research that tries to unearth and better elucidate the mechanisms behind health and disease. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 6 July 2021

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

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First Known Use of elucidate

circa 1568, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for elucidate

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

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Time Traveler for elucidate

Time Traveler

The first known use of elucidate was circa 1568

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Elucidate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elucidate. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of elucidate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of elucidate for Arabic Speakers


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