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

Definition of expatiate

intransitive verb

1 : to move about freely or at will : wander
2 : to speak or write at length or in detail expatiating upon the value of the fabric— Thomas Hardy

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Other Words from expatiate

expatiation \ (ˌ)ek-​ˌspā-​shē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce expatiation (audio) \ noun

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

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, "An English political scandal and gay lives over decades," 9 Mar. 2018 Alex Tizon’s essay can be read not simply as an attempt to confess a crime and expatiate his family’s guilt. Jean M. Twenge, The Atlantic, "The Conversation," 8 Aug. 2017 Tizon’s essay can be read not simply as an attempt to confess a crime and expatiate his family’s guilt. Vicente Rafael, The Atlantic, "Lola’s Resistant Dignity," 31 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'expatiate.' 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 expatiate

circa 1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for expatiate

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

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Time Traveler for expatiate

The first known use of expatiate was circa 1552

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More Definitions for expatiate



English Language Learners Definition of expatiate

formal : to speak or write about something in a way that includes a lot of details or uses many words

More from Merriam-Webster on expatiate

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Comments on expatiate

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


involving a confidence or trust

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