elaborated; elaborating; elaborates

Use the adjective elaborate when you want to describe how something is very detailed or especially complicated, like a devilish prank planned out weeks in advance.

The adjective elaborate is used to describe when something is planned with a lot of attention to detail or when something is intricate or detailed itself. The word comes from the Latin elaborare, which means "to produce by labor" but it has come to mean a lot of labor, especially work that is very complicated and precise. To imagine this word, think of a painting with lots of flourishes or a story with many sub-plots and characters that all fit together in extensive ways.

Definitions of elaborate
  1. adjective
    marked by complexity and richness of detail
    “an elaborate lace pattern”
    synonyms: luxuriant, ornate
    not plain; decorative or ornamented
  2. adjective
    developed or executed with care and in minute detail
    “"the elaborate register of the inhabitants prevented tax evasion"- John Buchan”
    synonyms: detailed, elaborated
    exercising caution or showing care or attention
  3. verb
    add details, as to an account or idea; clarify the meaning of and discourse in a learned way, usually in writing
    “She elaborated on the main ideas in her dissertation”
    synonyms: dilate, enlarge, expand, expatiate, exposit, expound, flesh out, lucubrate
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    abbreviate, abridge, contract, cut, foreshorten, reduce, shorten
    reduce in scope while retaining essential elements
    cut, edit, edit out
    cut and assemble the components of
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    provide details for
    exposit, expound, set forth
    exemplify, illustrate, instance
    clarify by giving an example of
    particularise, particularize, specialise, specialize, specify
    be specific about
    depict, describe, draw
    give a description of
    set forth beforehand, often as an explanation
    spell out
    make explicit; specify in detail
    type of:
    clarify, clear up, elucidate
    make clear and (more) comprehensible
  4. verb
    work out in detail
    elaborate a plan”
    synonyms: work out
    work out, work up
    come up with
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    type of:
    develop, make grow
    cause to grow and differentiate in ways conforming to its natural development
  5. verb
    make more complex, intricate, or richer
    synonyms: complicate, rarify, refine
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    make complex or intricate or complicated
    elaborate by the unfolding of a musical idea and by the working out of the rhythmic and harmonic changes in the theme
    make more complex or refined
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  6. verb
    produce from basic elements or sources; change into a more developed product
    “The bee elaborates honey”
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    type of:
    create, make, produce
    create or manufacture a man-made product
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘elaborate'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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