Elaboration means "adding details." Kids are famous for answering "good" when asked how school was and "nothing" when asked what they did there. If pressed for elaboration, they might talk about recess, lunch, and even what they learned.

Elaboration is the result of going that extra mile, such as when your history teacher asks for five paragraphs on the Fall of Rome, and you write three pages, or when your friend, instead of giving you a regular birthday card, creates a mini-scrapbook with photos and mementos from the past year. As you can see, elaboration takes time and energy because you go into greater detail than usual.

Definitions of elaboration

n developing in intricate and painstaking detail

working out
Type of:
the act of improving by expanding, enlarging, or refining

n addition of extra material or illustration or clarifying detail

“an elaboration of the sketch followed”
Type of:
expanding upon, expansion
adding information or detail

n a discussion that provides additional information

enlargement, expansion
a discussion (spoken or written) that enlarges on a topic or theme at length or in detail
embellishment, embroidery
elaboration of an interpretation by the use of decorative (sometimes fictitious) detail
Type of:
discourse, discussion, treatment
an extended communication (often interactive) dealing with some particular topic

n the result of improving something

Type of:
advance, betterment, improvement
a change for the better; progress in development

n the quality of being marked by elaborately complex detail

elaborateness, intricacy, involution
Type of:
complexity, complexness
the quality of being intricate and compounded

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.