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.
  3. to produce or develop by labor.
  4. 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.

adjective (ɪˈlæbərɪt)

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

verb (ɪˈlæbəˌreɪt)

  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
  3. (tr) to make more complicated or ornate
  4. (tr) to produce by careful labour; create
  5. (tr) physiol to change (food or simple substances) into more complex substances for use in the body

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.

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