Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun anal·y·sis \ə-ˈna-lə-səs\

Simple Definition of analysis

  • : a careful study of something to learn about its parts, what they do, and how they are related to each other

  • : an explanation of the nature and meaning of something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of analysis



play play \-ˌsēz\
  1. 1 :  separation of a whole into its component parts

  2. 2 a :  the identification or separation of ingredients of a substance b :  a statement of the constituents of a mixture

  3. 3 a :  proof of a mathematical proposition by assuming the result and deducing a valid statement by a series of reversible steps b (1) :  a branch of mathematics concerned mainly with limits, continuity, and infinite series (2) :  calculus 1b

  4. 4 a :  an examination of a complex, its elements, and their relations b :  a statement of such an analysis

  5. 5 a :  a method in philosophy of resolving complex expressions into simpler or more basic ones b :  clarification of an expression by an elucidation of its use in discourse

  6. 6 :  the use of function words instead of inflectional forms as a characteristic device of a language

  7. 7 :  psychoanalysis

Examples of analysis in a sentence

  1. His analyses expose hidden fractures with the clarity of an X-ray, and his rhetorical skill, though modulated in a journalistic style, owes much to the give and take of Euripides' crisp dialogue. —G. W. Bowersock, New York Review of Books, 6 Nov. 2008

  2. In order to depict economic decisions mathematically, economists needed to assume that human behavior is both rational and predictable. They imagined a representative human, Homo economicus, endowed with consistent preferences, stable moods, and an enviable ability to make only rational decisions. This sleight of hand yielded some theories that had genuine predictive value, but economists were obliged to exclude from their analyses many phenomena that didn't fit the … framework, such as stock-market bubbles, drug addiction, and compulsive shopping. —John Cassidy, New Yorker, 18 Sept. 2006

  3. Thus little more than a month before the convention was due to assemble in Philadelphia, James Madison fashioned a powerful and comprehensive analysis of the problems of federalism and republicanism. —Jack N. Rakove, Original Meanings, 1996

  4. Thanks to some pioneering studies, and an increasing body of editions, translations, and detailed analyses, we now have a good general picture of the spiritual culture of late-medieval women on the Continent, especially in the Low Countries and Germany. —Nicholas Watsons, Speculum, July 1993

  5. a scientific analysis of the data

  6. make a chemical analysis of the soil

  7. a detailed analysis of the bone structure of horses

  8. performing chemical analysis of the soil

  9. The newspaper printed an analysis of each candidate's positions.

  10. That's not a bad analysis of the situation.

  11. It's a problem that requires careful analysis.

  12. He has been in analysis for many years.

Origin and Etymology of analysis

New Latin, from Greek, from analyein to break up, from ana- + lyein to loosen — more at lose

First Known Use: 1581

ANALYSIS Defined for Kids


noun anal·y·sis \ə-ˈna-lə-səs\

Definition of analysis for Students



  1. 1 :  an examination of something to find out how it is made or works or what it is <chemical analysis of the soil>

  2. 2 :  an explanation of the nature and meaning of something <analysis of the news>

Medical Dictionary


noun anal·y·sis \ə-ˈnal-ə-səs\

Medical Definition of analysis



  1. 1:  separation of a whole into its component parts

  2. 2a:  the identification or separation of ingredients of a substanceb:  a statement of the constituents of a mixture

  3. 3:  psychoanalysis

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up analysis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to depart quickly

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which is the correct spelling?

accommodate accomodate acommodate acommadate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.