1 : to move about freely or at will : wander
2 : to speak or write at length or in detail
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 a figurative sense, "to digress." But when English speakers began using expatiate in the mid-16th century, we took "wander" to mean 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.
"By the time the Song Festival rep finished remarks, the orchestra staff promoted the raffle, and the conductor expatiated, it was 25 minutes into the afternoon before the oboe sounded the tuning A." — Donald J. Behnke, The Green Valley (Arizona) News and Sun, 25 Jan. 2015
"Humboldt … decided to deliver a series of lectures on the theme of, well, everything. He expatiated on meteorology, geology, plant geography, and ocean currents, as well as on fossils, magnetism, astronomy, human migration, and poetry." — Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 26 Oct. 2015
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
What 6-letter synonym of expatiate begins with "d" and can mean "to become wide" as well as "to comment at length"?VIEW THE ANSWER
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