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

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 formsel·e·gant·ly, adverbhy·per·el·e·gant, adjectivehy·per·el·e·gant·ly, adverbo·ver·el·e·gant, adjectiveo·ver·el·e·gant·ly, adverbsu·per·el·e·gant, adjectivesu·per·el·e·gant·ly, adverbun·el·e·gant, adjectiveun·el·e·gant·ly, adverb
Can be confusedelegant eloquent

Synonyms for elegant

Synonym study

1. See fine1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for elegant

Contemporary Examples of elegant

Historical Examples of elegant

  • "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; ingeniousan elegant solution to a problem
Derived Formselegantly, adverb

Word Origin for elegant

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

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