elaborate

adjective
elab·​o·​rate | \ i-ˈla-b(ə-)rət How to pronounce elaborate (audio) \

Essential Meaning of elaborate

: made or done with great care or with much detail : having many parts that are carefully arranged or planned They made elaborate preparations for his visit. I see now that her behavior was all part of an elaborate plan/plot/scheme. See More ExamplesThe dancers were wearing elaborate costumes. He told the story in elaborate detail. an elaborate mealHide

Full Definition of elaborate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : planned or carried out with great care took elaborate precautions
2 : marked by complexity, fullness of detail, or ornateness elaborate prose

elaborate

verb
elab·​o·​rate | \ i-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt How to pronounce elaborate (audio) \
elaborated; elaborating

Definition of elaborate (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to expand something in detail would you care to elaborate on that statement
2 : to become elaborate (see elaborate entry 1)

transitive verb

1 : to work out in detail : develop elaborate a theory
2 : to produce by labor
3 : to build up (something, such as complex organic compounds) from simple ingredients

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from elaborate

Adjective

elaborately adverb
elaborateness noun

Verb

elaboration \ i-​ˌla-​bə-​ˈrā-​shən How to pronounce elaborate (audio) \ noun
elaborative \ i-​ˈla-​bə-​ˌrā-​tiv How to pronounce elaborate (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for elaborate

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of elaborate in a Sentence

Adjective Jumping spiders, the largest family of spiders, have excellent eyesight and perform elaborate courtship and threat displays, often characterized by ritualized body postures and leg waving. — Simon Pollard, Natural History, March 1995 Mostly, I think, because it's wicked hot today, I've been having elaborate fantasies about the perfect hot-weather lunch: two dozen freshly opened Little Necks and a couple bottles of ice-cold lager. None of that red "cocktail" sauce on 'em either, just lemon and coarse black pepper. — Vladimir Estragon, Waiting for Dessert, 1982 On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A. — Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 1850 They made elaborate preparations for his visit. I see now that her behavior was all part of an elaborate plan. The dancers were wearing elaborate costumes. He told the story in elaborate detail. Verb … the National Weather Service … advised all citizens in New Orleans's water-filled neighborhoods "to take the necessary tools for survival." The Weather Service elaborated: "Those going into attics should try to take an axe or hatchet with them so they can cut their way onto the roof to avoid drowning should rising flood waters continue to rise into the attic." — Christopher Cooper & Robert Block, Diaster, 2006 In each evening's sleep sustained dream scenarios, elaborated over periods lasting up to an hour, alternate with thought-like mentation in 90-minute-cycles. — Jeffrey Saver, London Review of Books, 4 Aug. 1988 I'll be glad to elaborate if you want to hear more. She was asked to say more about her earlier statements, but she declined to elaborate.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Cebulski spun an elaborate backstory that Yoshida was a translator who previously worked in manga and was friends with artists like Pat Lee. NBC News, 12 Oct. 2021 Chew on info about outstanding oddities, such as the elaborate table etiquette of the Victorian era, the diets of Roman gladiators and the rules of haggis-hurling competitions in Scotland. Laura Manske, Forbes, 12 Oct. 2021 The actors also praise Craven for his elaborate script, which saw Scream pay tribute to a slew of other horror films that came before, while setting the rules for movies that would come after. Nicholas Rice, PEOPLE.com, 12 Oct. 2021 Tina Pesce quietly painted elaborate murals on the walls inside her home in Stockton Springs, Maine. BostonGlobe.com, 10 Oct. 2021 Schulte said that while there will certainly be exceptions, the combination of elaborate regulations and obstructive local policies mean pot cafes will remain scarce even if a few open in the years to come. Zachariah Hughes, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Oct. 2021 Its most notable art deco elements are the iron-grill windows, geometric shapes, and the elaborate metalwork on the front doors. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 9 Oct. 2021 Since then, Zimmer has done elaborate full orchestra performances of his movie scores all over the world. Amos Barshad, Vulture, 8 Oct. 2021 Designed by architect William Hablinski, the house is filled with elaborate details such as Travertine fireplaces and Juliet balconies. E.b. Solomont, WSJ, 7 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Schmidt declined to elaborate on what prompted the high-profile departure. oregonlive, 13 Oct. 2021 Representatives for the carrier declined to elaborate. Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2021 The company did not say whether sharing of passenger lists should be through the federal government or among companies themselves, and declined to elaborate. Washington Post, 24 Sep. 2021 Reached for comment, Cody declined to elaborate, and 12 News did not respond to requests for comment. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 23 Sep. 2021 Tamborello confirmed her resignation but declined to elaborate. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, 10 Sep. 2021 The official said it wasn't immediately known who was behind the attack and declined to elaborate. Arkansas Online, 31 July 2021 Earlier this week, Psaki said more than one breakthrough case had occurred at the White House but declined to elaborate. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, 23 July 2021 Today Pepper is no longer with the bank, according to a spokeswoman who declined to elaborate. Miho Inada, WSJ, 13 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elaborate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of elaborate

Adjective

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1611, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for elaborate

Adjective and Verb

Latin elaboratus, from past participle of elaborare to work out, acquire by labor, from e- + laborare to work — more at laboratory

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About elaborate

Time Traveler for elaborate

Time Traveler

The first known use of elaborate was in 1592

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near elaborate

El'brus

elaborate

elaborater

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for elaborate

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Elaborate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elaborate. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for elaborate

elaborate

adjective
elab·​o·​rate | \ i-ˈla-bə-rət How to pronounce elaborate (audio) , -ˈla-brət \

Kids Definition of elaborate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: made or done with great care or with much detail an elaborate ceremony

Other Words from elaborate

elaborately adverb

elaborate

verb
elab·​o·​rate | \ i-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt How to pronounce elaborate (audio) \
elaborated; elaborating

Kids Definition of elaborate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to give more details about Would you elaborate on what happened?
2 : to work out in detail He elaborated his ideas.

elaborate

transitive verb
elab·​o·​rate | \ i-ˈlab-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce elaborate (audio) \
elaborated; elaborating

Medical Definition of elaborate

of a living organism
: to alter the chemical makeup of (as a foodstuff) to one more suited to bodily needs (as of assimilation or excretion) especially : to build up (complex organic compounds) from simple ingredients the toxin elaborated by the tetanus bacterium

More from Merriam-Webster on elaborate

Nglish: Translation of elaborate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of elaborate for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!