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[el-i-guh nt] /ˈɛl ɪ gənt/
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.
late Middle English
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 forms
elegantly, adverb
hyperelegant, adjective
hyperelegantly, adverb
overelegant, adjective
overelegantly, adverb
superelegant, adjective
superelegantly, adverb
unelegant, adjective
unelegantly, adverb
Can be confused
elegant, eloquent.
1. See fine1 . 2. polished, courtly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for elegantly
  • The crisp, clean large format portraits are elegantly shot using one light source and a gray backdrop.
  • All were elegantly slender, despite the rich food and drink they were putting away.
  • It elegantly maximizes storage space, but it can also complicate data recovery when a computer crashes.
  • All the time, he really recognizes his responsibilities and he carries himself so elegantly.
  • Beside him is his inscription, elegantly carved in raised relief, enjoining upon his descendants the regular duty of bringing.
  • At this eatery, choose from elegantly prepared foods and a large selection of wines to take away.
  • If he is not so well remembered now, tonight's elegantly produced two-hour tribute may be a corrective.
  • And she's wearing a white-diamond engagement ring on her elegantly manicured right hand.
  • Décor features elegantly appointed fixtures and furnishings.
  • Tails are never required, but won't be out of place for those who enjoy dressing elegantly for special occasions.
British Dictionary definitions for elegantly


tasteful in dress, style, or design
dignified and graceful in appearance, behaviour, etc
cleverly simple; ingenious: an elegant solution to a problem
Derived Forms
elegantly, adverb
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for elegantly



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
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