clar·​i·​fy | \ ˈkler-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce clarify (audio) , ˈkla-rə- \
clarified; clarifying

Definition of clarify

transitive verb

1 : to make understandable clarify a subject The president was forced to clarify his position on the issue.
2 : to free of confusion needs time to clarify his thoughts
3 : to make (a liquid or something liquefied) clear or pure usually by freeing from suspended matter clarify syrup

intransitive verb

: to become clear waiting for the present muddled diplomatic situation to clarifyNewsweek

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Other Words from clarify

clarification \ ˌkler-​ə-​fə-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce clarification (audio) , ˌkla-​rə-​ \ noun
clarifier \ ˈkler-​ə-​ˌfī(-​ə)r How to pronounce clarifier (audio) , ˈkla-​rə-​ \ noun

Synonyms for clarify


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Examples of clarify in a Sentence

Can you clarify exactly what it is you're proposing? Her explanation did not clarify matters much. The president was forced to clarify his position on the issue. The committee clarified the manager's duties. a substance used to clarify wine
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Recent Examples on the Web But that amount includes a whopping 66% contingency cost because of numerous uncertainties that could be clarified in planning, engineering and design. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Asian Carp 'eDNA' found in Chicago creek near Lake Michigan. But what does it mean?," 25 Nov. 2019 Villanueva later clarified the weapon has a serial number. Washington Post, "Students arrested for separate threats at 2 LA-area schools," 22 Nov. 2019 The person recording later clarified that the loud thud turned out to be the beige dog traumatically landing on its head. Joelle Goldstein,, "Disturbing Footage Catches a Los Angeles Dog Rescue Store Employee Throwing Pup to the Ground," 14 Nov. 2019 Wu later clarified her comments, saying that she was forced to give up working on another project due to her commitments to the series. Joe Otterson,, "‘Fresh Off the Boat’ to end after six seasons at ABC," 8 Nov. 2019 Son will not have intended to injure his opponent but – as the Premier League later clarified in a statement – he was dismissed for endangering the safety of a player., "FA Overturn Son Heung-min's Red Card for Infamous Andre Gomes Tackle," 5 Nov. 2019 Mulvaney later clarified his remarks, and Trump has stood by him. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Republicans to push for censure of Schiff in probe," 20 Oct. 2019 Riot later clarified that political views were not allowed on any of its esports broadcasts. Shannon Liao, CNN, "This video game company made one game for a decade. Now it's ready to make five more," 15 Oct. 2019 In 2013, that garage was designated a historic landmark by the city’s historical commission, but Wozniak later clarified that it was used as a testing space and a hangout rather than a lab. Anne Quito, Quartz at Work, "The home garage is the design template for many start-up offices," 30 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clarify.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clarify

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

History and Etymology for clarify

Middle English clarifien, from Anglo-French clarifier, from Late Latin clarificare, from Latin clarus clear — more at clear

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Time Traveler for clarify

Time Traveler

The first known use of clarify was in the 14th century

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Statistics for clarify

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Clarify.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for clarify


How to pronounce clarify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of clarify

: to make (something) easier to understand
: to make (a liquid) purer or easier to see through


clar·​i·​fy | \ ˈkler-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce clarify (audio) \
clarified; clarifying

Kids Definition of clarify

1 : to make or to become pure or clear clarify a liquid
2 : to make or become more easily understood clarify a statement


clar·​i·​fy | \ ˈklar-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce clarify (audio) \
clarified; clarifying

Medical Definition of clarify

transitive verb

: to make (as a liquid) clear or pure usually by freeing from suspended matter clarify sewage

intransitive verb

: to become clear

Other Words from clarify

clarification \ ˌklar-​ə-​fə-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce clarification (audio) \ noun
clarifier \ ˈklar-​ə-​ˌfī(-​ə)r How to pronounce clarifier (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on clarify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clarify

Spanish Central: Translation of clarify

Nglish: Translation of clarify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clarify for Arabic Speakers

Comments on clarify

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


very cautious or careful

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