[ adjective ih-lab-er-it; verb ih-lab-uh-reyt ]
See synonyms for: elaborateelaboratedelaborateselaborating on Thesaurus.com

  1. worked out with great care and nicety of detail; executed with great minuteness: elaborate preparations; elaborate care.

  2. marked by intricate and often excessive detail; complicated; ornate.

verb (used with object),e·lab·o·rat·ed, e·lab·o·rat·ing.
  1. to work out carefully or minutely; develop to perfection.

  2. to add details to; expand.

  1. to produce or develop by labor.

  2. Physiology. to convert (food, plasma, etc.) by means of chemical processes into a substance more suitable for use within the body.

verb (used without object),e·lab·o·rat·ed, e·lab·o·rat·ing.
  1. 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

First recorded in 1575–85; from Latin ēlabōrātus (past participle of ēlabōrāre ) worked out, equivalent to ē- intensive prefix + labōr- “work” + -ātus adjective suffix; see e-1, -ate1

synonym study For elaborate

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.

Other words for elaborate

Opposites for elaborate

Other words from elaborate

  • e·lab·o·rate·ly, adverb
  • e·lab·o·rate·ness, noun
  • e·lab·o·ra·tive, adjective
  • e·lab·o·ra·tor, noun
  • non·e·lab·o·rate, adjective
  • non·e·lab·o·rate·ly, adverb
  • non·e·lab·o·rate·ness, noun
  • non·e·lab·o·rat·ing, adjective
  • non·e·lab·o·ra·tive, adjective
  • qua·si-e·lab·o·rate, adjective
  • qua·si-e·lab·o·rate·ly, adverb
  • self-e·lab·o·rat·ed, adjective
  • su·per·e·lab·o·rate, adjective
  • su·per·e·lab·o·rate·ly, adverb
  • su·per·e·lab·o·rate·ness, noun
  • un·e·lab·o·rate, adjective
  • un·e·lab·o·rate·ly, adverb
  • un·e·lab·o·rate·ness, noun
  • un·e·lab·o·rat·ed, adjective
  • well-e·lab·o·rat·ed, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use elaborate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for elaborate


  1. planned or executed with care and exactness; detailed

  2. marked by complexity, ornateness, or detail

  1. (intr; usually foll by on or upon) to add information or detail (to an account); expand (upon)

  2. (tr) to work out in detail; develop

  1. (tr) to make more complicated or ornate

  2. (tr) to produce by careful labour; create

  3. (tr) physiol to change (food or simple substances) into more complex substances for use in the body

Origin of elaborate

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

Derived forms of elaborate

  • elaborately, adverb
  • elaborateness, noun
  • elaboration, noun
  • elaborative (ɪˈlæbərətɪv), adjective
  • elaborator, noun

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