over·​elab·​o·​rate | \ ˌō-vər-i-ˈla-b(ə-)rət How to pronounce overelaborate (audio) \

Definition of overelaborate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: excessively elaborate an overelaborate plot/plan an overelaborate dinner presentation … creating an overelaborate design at the expense of clarity and readability …— David Baldwin overelaborate and pointless accounts of petty troubles …— Genevieve Stuttaford et al.


over·​elab·​o·​rate | \ ˌō-vər-i-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt How to pronounce overelaborate (audio) \
overelaborated; overelaborating

Definition of overelaborate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive + intransitive

: to elaborate (something) too much : to do or provide (something) with too much detail, complexity, or ornateness overelaborating [=belaboring] an obvious point … his motivations are overelaborated through too many back stories …— Nathaniel Rich … wasted a host of presentable chances in the second half as they often overelaborated on their way to goal …— James Benge She also knows the art of simplifying … rather than creating an overelaborated mishmash of textures and hues.— Steve Whysall

Other Words from overelaborate


overelaboration \ ˌō-​vər-​i-​ˌla-​bə-​ˈrā-​shən How to pronounce overelaboration (audio) \ noun, plural overelaborations
Overelaboration should be avoided in constructing graphs. The substance of the graph should be the centre of attraction, not the design graphic … — J. A. John et al.

First Known Use of overelaborate


circa 1879, in the meaning defined above


1899, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of overelaborate was circa 1879

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Cite this Entry

“Overelaborate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overelaborate. Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on overelaborate

Nglish: Translation of overelaborate for Spanish Speakers

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