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

Definition of elucidate

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to give a clarifying explanation

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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 In Mythologies Without End, Jerome Slater tries to cut through the detritus of legends and exaggerations accumulated over the past 70 years to elucidate a fuller understanding of Israel’s international relationships. Mike Watson, National Review, "Israel and Her Critics," 3 Dec. 2020 Except in the last movement, evoking Alcibiades' rowdy intrusion on Socrates' solemn pontification, this esoterica does little to elucidate the music. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Engaging Bernstein, earthbound Mozart from Fort Worth Symphony and guest conductor Brett Mitchell," 31 Oct. 2020 Reframing the reasons for these purchases has done nothing to elucidate the circumstances under which the Fed might adjust the bond purchases. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, "Fed Ramped Up Deliberations Over Low-Rate Promises," 7 Oct. 2020 As new data roll in on sleep and this disease, scientists hope to better elucidate the complex workings of the immune system, while also providing clearer guidelines on how to use sleep as a weapon to stave off the pandemic. Emily Sohn, National Geographic, "Want to reduce your COVID-19 risk? You need to sleep more.," 1 Oct. 2020 Instead of searching for topics that would hopefully elucidate our compatibility, my matches and I now had an all-encompassing shared experience to discuss. Ginny Hogan, The Atlantic, "What It’s Like to Start a New Relationship During the Pandemic," 30 Sep. 2020 This might seem strange, given that art history serves to preserve and elucidate art objects, and that neither museum people nor academics are averse to a good public scrap. Susan Tallman, The New York Review of Books, "Who Decides What’s Beautiful?," 8 Sep. 2020 Because the double pentagon and the dodecahedron are geometric cousins, the former’s high degree of symmetry can elucidate the structure of the latter. Quanta Magazine, "Mathematicians Report New Discovery About the Dodecahedron," 31 Aug. 2020 The team wants to perform further tests to elucidate the physical aspects of the artifacts, including the composition of the ink and the production of the parchment. Megan Gannon, Smithsonian Magazine, "Text Found on Supposedly Blank Dead Sea Scroll Fragments," 18 May 2020

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

17 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elucidate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elucidate. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for elucidate


How to pronounce elucidate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of elucidate

formal : to make (something that is hard to understand) clear or easy to understand

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