[adjective ih-lab-er-it; verb ih-lab-uh-reyt]


worked out with great care and nicety of detail; executed with great minuteness: elaborate preparations; elaborate care.
marked by intricate and often excessive detail; complicated; ornate.

verb (used with object), e·lab·o·rat·ed, e·lab·o·rat·ing.

verb (used without object), e·lab·o·rat·ed, e·lab·o·rat·ing.

to add details in writing, speaking, etc.; give additional or fuller treatment (usually followed by on or upon): to elaborate upon a theme or an idea.

Origin of elaborate

1575–85; < Latin ēlabōrātus (past participle of ēlabōrāre) worked out, equivalent to ē- e-1 + labōr- work + -ātus -ate1
Related formse·lab·o·rate·ly, adverbe·lab·o·rate·ness, noune·lab·o·ra·tive, adjectivee·lab·o·ra·tor, nounnon·e·lab·o·rate, adjectivenon·e·lab·o·rate·ly, adverbnon·e·lab·o·rate·ness, nounnon·e·lab·o·rat·ing, adjectivenon·e·lab·o·ra·tive, adjectivequa·si-e·lab·o·rate, adjectivequa·si-e·lab·o·rate·ly, adverbself-e·lab·o·rat·ed, adjectivesu·per·e·lab·o·rate, adjectivesu·per·e·lab·o·rate·ly, adverbsu·per·e·lab·o·rate·ness, nounun·e·lab·o·rate, adjectiveun·e·lab·o·rate·ly, adverbun·e·lab·o·rate·ness, nounun·e·lab·o·rat·ed, adjectivewell-e·lab·o·rat·ed, adjective

Synonym study

2. Elaborate, labored, studied apply to that which is worked out in great detail. That which is elaborate is characterized by great, sometimes even excessive, minuteness of detail: elaborate preparations for a banquet. That which is labored is marked by excessive, often forced or uninspired, effort: a labored style of writing. That which is studied is accomplished with care and deliberation, and is done purposely, sometimes even having been rehearsed: a studied pose.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for elaborately

Contemporary Examples of elaborately

  • Over many pages, Proust vividly mimics the elaborately circumlocutious mode of speech of the elderly diplomat.

  • Like the elaborately choreographed escape from default, it was a signal moment of Washington unreality, more farce than tragedy.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Washington’s Earthquake Farce

    Howard Kurtz

    August 24, 2011

Historical Examples of elaborately

  • His worship was elaborately civil but obviously troubled in mind.

  • The humour is the same, though often too elaborately expressed.

  • The front of the skirt and of the sleeves are elaborately trimmed with puffings of satin.

    The Group

    Mercy Warren

  • She was elaborately gowned and furred, and something about her creaked when she walked.

    Cap'n Warren's Wards

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "Her Majesty is to be congratulated," said Sir Oliver elaborately.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for elaborately


adjective (ɪˈlæbərɪt)

planned or executed with care and exactness; detailed
marked by complexity, ornateness, or detail

verb (ɪˈlæbəˌreɪt)

(intr; usually foll by on or upon) to add information or detail (to an account); expand (upon)
(tr) to work out in detail; develop
(tr) to make more complicated or ornate
(tr) to produce by careful labour; create
(tr) physiol to change (food or simple substances) into more complex substances for use in the body
Derived Formselaborately, adverbelaborateness, nounelaboration, nounelaborative (ɪˈlæbərətɪv), adjectiveelaborator, noun

Word Origin for elaborate

C16: from Latin ēlabōrāre to take pains, from labōrāre to toil
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

Word Origin and History for elaborately

1630s, see elaborate (adj.) + -ly (2).



1590s, "produced by labor," from Latin elaboratus, past participle of elaborare "to exert oneself" (see elaboration). Meaning "very detailed" is from 1620s.



c.1600, "to build up from simple elements," from Latin elaboratus, past participle of elaborare (see elaboration). Meaning "to work out in detail" is attested from 1610s. Related: Elaborated; elaborating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper