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 The use of pretentious phrases and complex acronyms is generally designed to obfuscate rather than elucidate. The Economist, "A manager’s manifesto for 2020," 2 Jan. 2020 That means working towards structural change, not just surface change, and committing to tracking the metrics which elucidate that—things like water use, and toxic waste. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "Can Apple keep growing without extracting anything more from the earth?," 12 Dec. 2019 The team’s findings add to, rather than elucidate, the mysteries surrounding the canvas. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "Nativity Scene Discovered Beneath 16th-Century Painting of John the Baptist’s Beheading," 20 Dec. 2019 Once it has been elucidated, though, the discovery should pave the way for artificial antibacterial materials that do not use antibiotics to keep the bugs away. The Economist, "How spider silk avoids hungry bacteria," 10 Oct. 2019 And get there early to hear Zander’s lucid and elucidating introduction to the program, which will be like getting fit with a fresh pair of ears. BostonGlobe.com, "Right about now seems like the perfect time to, say, sink to the very bottom of the sea. And what luck! Now," 18 Oct. 2019 One suspects that the points Sankoff and Hein sought to elucidate precluded any more comprehensive portrayal of the conflicts and tensions that must have arisen. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "It’s been 18 years since 9/11, but ‘Come From Away’ will still bring you to tears," 13 Dec. 2019 With tenderness and a clear-eyed view of a fraught political moment, Malle elucidates the plight of a working class people whose struggles remain key to our country’s future to this very day. Jordan Cronk, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Picks: A November To-Do List for Film Buffs in L.A.," 31 Oct. 2019 To cut to the chase, Taylor elucidates that there was a quid pro quo in the Trump administration’s conduct of relations with Kyiv. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Stop Claiming ‘No Quid Pro Quo’," 26 Oct. 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

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elucidate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elucidation. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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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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