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


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

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
overelaboration 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.

Examples of overelaborate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The overelaborate surfaces seem to evoke globalization as a simple excess. Jason Farago, New York Times, 25 Mar. 2021

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

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1879, in the meaning defined above


1899, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of overelaborate was circa 1879

Dictionary Entries Near overelaborate

Cite this Entry

“Overelaborate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overelaborate. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

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