Word of the Day : November 20, 2011


verb ih-LOO-suh-dayt


1 : to make lucid especially by explanation or analysis

2 : to give a clarifying explanation

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").


During her speech, the governor attempted to elucidate exactly what kind of impact the new sports arena would have on the state's economy.

"His stylish criticism, marked by an easy erudition, was invariably smooth and accessible; he compressed and elucidated but never reduced or oversimplified." -- From an article by Benjamin Schwarz in The Atlantic, December 2011

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "patina," our Word of the Day from November 3? The answer is ...


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