From the participle stem of Latin expatior, from ex- + spatior (walk about).


  • IPA(key): /ɪkˈspeɪʃɪeɪt/, /ɛkˈspeɪʃɪeɪt/
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expatiate (third-person singular simple present expatiates, present participle expatiating, simple past and past participle expatiated)

  1. To write or speak at length; to be copious in argument or discussion.
    Synonyms: descant, dilate, enlarge, expound
    • 1716 March 16 (Gregorian calendar), Joseph Addison, “The Free-holder: No. 22. Monday, March 5. [1716.]”, in The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Esq; [], volume IV, London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], published 1721, →OCLC, page 438:
      [H]e expatiated on the inconveniences of trade, that carried from us the commodities of our country, and made a parcel of upſtarts as rich as men of the moſt ancient families of England.
    • 1842, [anonymous collaborator of Letitia Elizabeth Landon], “(please specify the page)”, in Lady Anne Granard; or, Keeping up Appearances. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, pages 48–49:
      To the pure mind of Isabella thought of no other had arisen; and it was far better that the generous romance of her young heart should expatiate on the rival in heaven, than for a moment dread a rival on earth, and therefore become subject to jealousy...
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, “The Mast-head”, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, →OCLC, page 203:
      Now, as the business of standing mast-heads, ashore or afloat, is a very ancient and interesting one, let us in some measure expatiate here.
    • 1992 May 3, Clive Exton, “Comrade Bingo”, in Jeeves and Wooster, season 3, episode 6:
      Wooster: If you ask me, art is responsible for most of the trouble in the world. / Jeeves: An interesting theory, sir. Would you care to expatiate upon it? / Wooster: As a matter of fact, no, Jeeves. The thought just occurred to me, as thoughts do. / Jeeves: Very good, sir.
    • 2007, Clive James, Cultural Amnesia, Picador, page 847:
      “It can't fly,” he expatiated. “It can move forward only by hopping.”
  2. (rare) To range at large, or without restraint.
    • 1713, Alexander Pope, “Windsor-Forest. []”, in The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope, volume I, London: [] W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintot, [], published 1717, →OCLC, page 62:
      [L]ooks on heav'n with more than mortal eyes, / Bids his free ſoul expatiate in the skies, / Amidſt her kindred ſtars familiar roam, / Survey the region, and confeſs her home! Such was the life great Scipio once admir'd, / Thus Atticus, and Trumball thus retir'd.
  3. (obsolete) To expand; to spread; to extend; to diffuse; to broaden.


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