Share this entry

elegant Line breaks: ele|gant
Pronunciation: /ˈɛlɪɡ(ə)nt/

Definition of elegant in English:


1Graceful and stylish in appearance or manner: she will look elegant in black an elegant, comfortable house
More example sentences
  • The Queen then entered with a show of magical lights in her most elegant gown.
  • Dressing herself in one graceful movement, she wore a long black dress that looked more elegant then casual.
  • For her age of sixty she looked very elegant in it.
stylish, graceful, tasteful, discerning, refined, sophisticated, dignified, cultivated, distinguished, classic, smart, fashionable, modish, decorous, beautiful, artistic, aesthetic, lovely;
charming, polished, suave, urbane, cultured, dashing, debonair;
luxurious, sumptuous, opulent, grand, plush, high-class, exquisite
informal swanky
2(Of a scientific theory or solution to a problem) pleasingly ingenious and simple: the grand unified theory is compact and elegant in mathematical terms
More example sentences
  • The back of the computer is elegant in its simplicity.
  • The user interface, while again somewhat limited, is also elegant in its simplicity.
  • The SCSI protocol is elegant in its simplicity.
neat, simple, effective;
ingenious, clever, deft, intelligent, inventive


Late 15th century: from French, or from Latin elegans, elegant-, related to eligere 'choose, select' (see elect).

  • These days, someone elegant will generally be well dressed, but the basic idea behind the word is of being discerning and making careful choices. It comes from Old French élégant or Latin elegans, from eligere ‘to choose or select’, which was the origin of elect (Late Middle English), eligible (Late Middle English), and elite (late 18th century).

Words that rhyme with elegant

triumphant • sycophant

Definition of elegant in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day confidant
Pronunciation: ˈkɒnfɪdant
a person with whom one shares a secret...