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").
"In 'Darwin and the Meaning of Flowers' Sacks recounts how, late in his life and in poor health, Darwin turned his attention from animals to plants, continuing to elucidate his theory of evolution when he could no longer undertake voyages." — Suzanne Koven, The Boston Globe, 26 Nov. 2017
"The D.A. was engaging and insightful as he elucidated upon not only the proper steps to get a felony removed from your criminal background, but also the procedures of diversion and executive pardon." — James E. Cherry, The Jackson (Tennessee) Sun, 26 Nov. 2017
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
What noun is related to Latin lucēre (though distantly) and refers to a person of brilliant achievement?VIEW THE ANSWER
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