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 elucidation (audio) \ noun
elucidative \ i-​ˈlü-​sə-​ˌdā-​tiv How to pronounce elucidative (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 But Wylie said the experience has actually served to elucidate just how powerful and integral Facebook has become to the typical internet user. Graham Kates, CBS News, "Facebook still won't let you "friend" Christopher Wylie," 10 Oct. 2019 Moreover, the limits of what is desirable to promote abroad are drawn by truth, elucidated by reason and inlayed in tradition. Jakub Grygiel, National Review, "The Role of Values in Foreign Policy," 21 Aug. 2019 This includes Kiko taking the hosts to famous Tokyo hot spots, such as a gay bar adored by Freddie Mercury, and elucidating the culturally specific difficulties the participants face. Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Queer Eye: We're in Japan!': TV Review," 30 Oct. 2019 But each new gene discovery helps elucidate how these interrelated pathways control our 40 winks. Wired, "A New Gene Helps Explain Why Some People Need Less Sleep," 16 Oct. 2019 What the Big Stink Was’ Over Drama Surrounding Taylor Swift’s Masters After her comments picked up steam, Crow hopped on Twitter Thursday night to elucidate the situation. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Sheryl Crow Clarifies 'Big Stink' Comments About Taylor Swift's Masters: 'I Chose the Wrong Word'," 13 Sep. 2019 Now, a new study of the scroll is elucidating some of the methods that kept it intact for millennia. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Unique Salt Coating Helped Preserve 25-Foot-Long Dead Sea Scroll," 9 Sep. 2019 Ideological minorities — including the smallest minority, the individual — can get trampled by the unity stampede (as my friend Kevin Williamson masterfully elucidates in his new book, The Smallest Minority). Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Unity Can Be Worse than Partisanship," 26 July 2019 Is unfit to protect government of the people, by the people, for the people as elucidated in the Gettysburg Address. NBC News, "'Unfit to be president': Full text of House impeachment resolution on Trump," 17 July 2019

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

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Elucidate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elucidated. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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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Comments on elucidate

What made you want to look up elucidate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


very cautious or careful

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