ex·​pa·​ti·​ate ek-ˈspā-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce expatiate (audio)
expatiated; expatiating

intransitive verb

: to move about freely or at will : wander
: to speak or write at length or in detail
expatiating upon the value of the fabricThomas Hardy

Did you know?

The Latin antecedent of "expatiate" is "exspatiari," which combines the prefix ex- ("out of") with "spatiari" ("to take a walk"), itself from "spatium" ("space" or "course"). Exspatiari means "to wander from a course" and, in the figurative sense, "to digress." But when English speakers began using "expatiate" in 1538, we took "wander" as simply "to move about freely." In a similar digression from the original Latin, we began using "expatiate" in a figurative sense of "to speak at length." That's the sense of the word most often used these days, usually in combination with "on" or "upon."

Examples of expatiate in a Sentence

the naturalist is known for her willingness to expatiate on any number of issues relating to wildlife and the environment
Recent Examples on the Web Ostensibly, further studies are encouraged to expatiate this understanding. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 15 Dec. 2022 With wit and elan to spare, Greene expatiates on the intrigue that ensues when David Sparsholt, an engineering student with a fiancée, Connie, and a plan to join the Royal Air Force, arrives at Oxford in 1940. Priscilla Gilman, BostonGlobe.com, 9 Mar. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'expatiate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin exspatiatus, past participle of exspatiari to wander, digress, from ex- + spatium space, course

First Known Use

circa 1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of expatiate was circa 1552


Dictionary Entries Near expatiate

Cite this Entry

“Expatiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expatiate. Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


ex·​pa·​ti·​ate ek-ˈspā-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce expatiate (audio)
expatiated; expatiating
: to speak or write in a full or lengthy manner
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