Word: elucidate

Pronunciation: i-LOO-si-dayt

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: make (something) clear; explain

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

This week, I decided to share a verb taken from my experience as a Biology student. There isn’t much I can say about the word “elucidate”, except that it’s one I see quite a bit in academic writing. I was actually inspired to include it in my vocabulary segment after recently reading it yet again in a scientific paper, as I feel it’s a word that has potential to work equally well in fiction.

To “elucidate” something is to explain it or make it clear. The word comes from the Latin verb elucidare, which means “enlighten”. This verb is comprised of two roots: the preposition ex “out” and the adjective lucidus “clear”.

“Elucidate” may be one of those unnecessarily advanced synonyms for a common word, or at least that’s my impression of it. I rarely see it outside of academic texts, as most other cases in which it might work tend to use simpler terms such as “explain” or “make clear” instead. Still, you may be able to fit this less common word into your stories, particularly if you write intelligent characters who use advanced vocabulary. As long as you’re able to “elucidate” the meaning within your writing on the first try, you should be fine!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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