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[el-i-guh nt] /ˈɛl ɪ gənt/
tastefully fine or luxurious in dress, style, design, etc.:
elegant furnishings.
gracefully refined and dignified, as in tastes, habits, or literary style:
an elegant young gentleman; an elegant prosodist.
graceful in form or movement:
an elegant wave of the hand.
appropriate to refined taste:
a man devoted to elegant pursuits.
excellent; fine; superior:
an absolutely elegant wine.
(of scientific, technical, or mathematical theories, solutions, etc.) gracefully concise and simple; admirably succinct.
Origin of elegant
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin ēlegant- (stem of ēlegāns) tasteful, choice, equivalent to ēleg- (akin to ēlig- select; see elect) + -ant- -ant; orig. present participle of lost v.
Related forms
elegantly, adverb
hyperelegant, adjective
hyperelegantly, adverb
overelegant, adjective
overelegantly, adverb
superelegant, adjective
superelegantly, adverb
unelegant, adjective
unelegantly, adverb
Can be confused
elegant, eloquent.
2. polished, courtly.
Synonym Study
1. See fine1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for elegant
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Pray excuse me," replied Phoebus, with an elegant obeisance.

    Tanglewood Tales Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • They were dressed in very fine clothes, and had elegant manners.

    Welsh Fairy Tales William Elliott Griffis
  • That elegant connection of ours—that dear lady who was here yesterday—'

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • I tore off the cover, and disclosed an elegant and portable edition of ‘Marmion.’

  • The Comte de Kratry, an elegant young hussar, was also present.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
British Dictionary definitions for elegant


tasteful in dress, style, or design
dignified and graceful in appearance, behaviour, etc
cleverly simple; ingenious: an elegant solution to a problem
Derived Forms
elegantly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin ēlegāns tasteful, related to ēligere to select; see elect
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for elegant

late 15c., from Middle French élégant (15c.), from Latin elegantem (nominative elegans) "choice, fine, tasteful," collateral form of present participle of eligere "select with care, choose." Elegans was originally a term of reproach, "dainty, fastidious;" the notion of "tastefully refined" emerged in classical Latin. Related: Elegantly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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