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 message went on to elucidate the company's internal diversity efforts. Matt Mcfarland, CNN, "Tesla makes Juneteenth a holiday for US workers, if they use paid time off," 19 June 2020 One larger goal behind the Princeton lab’s experiments is to better understand the motion of bacteria in various environments, which could help elucidate how microbes mutate to develop antibiotic resistance, says Austin. Sophia Chen, Wired, "These Bacteria Ate Their Way Through a Really Tricky Maze," 9 June 2020 Jin skillfully, if at times schematically, uses their varied voices and perspectives to elucidate what drove Su Lan and resolve the mystery of Liya’s father. Washington Post, "Meng Jin’s ‘Little Gods’ is an ambitious, formally complex debut," 17 Jan. 2020 Data to be released May 8 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is likely to elucidate the full number of unemployed in America. Ken Dilanian, NBC News, "U.S. Intelligence Community examining whether outbreak came from animals or laboratory accident," 2 May 2020 And this new advisory still doesn’t elucidate the differences between protective masks, surgical masks, and N95 respirators, of which there’s a dangerous shortage that a new gray market is trying to replenish. Tony Chambers, Fortune, "Consortiums and collaborations: Design companies team up to fight the coronavirus," 31 Mar. 2020 In parallel, pioneering studies have begun to elucidate how the brain tracks a beat, work that may help corroborate that rhythm is not restricted to the planet’s most loquacious creatures. Quanta Magazine, "The Beasts That Keep the Beat," 22 Mar. 2016 The research drew on data collected through the Pooling Project of Prospective Studies of Diet and Cancer, an international set of studies that seeks to elucidate the relationship between diet and cancer among women without a history of the disease. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Losing Weight May Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer," 17 Dec. 2019 John Kaag fervently believes that his academic discipline, philosophy, can help combat despair by elucidating fundamental ideas about freedom and what makes life significant. Heller Mcalpin, WSJ, "‘Sick Souls, Healthy Minds’ Review: Is Life Worth Living?," 19 Mar. 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

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elucidate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elucidate. Accessed 8 Aug. 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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