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 The text beneath this headline clarifies it is referring to the PPP funding. Eric Litke, USA TODAY, "Fact check: No, Wisconsin did not get $0 in small business coronavirus relief funds," 24 May 2020 Kait Conetta, a Box spokesperson, clarified in an email to Fortune that this will consist of $300 on top of another $300 stipend offered earlier this year, yielding a total of $600. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Work from home, get a $1,000 bonus. The tech industry’s new perk," 23 May 2020 In early March, a World Health Organization spokesperson suggested that people should not use cash if possible, but then clarified that the WHO was not issuing a COVID-19 specific guidance with regards to using contactless payments. Marilyn Roberts, The Conversation, "You don’t need to worry about spreading the coronavirus with cash," 21 May 2020 The tension between heartfelt sentiments and mechanical aesthetics helps clarify Charli’s big pandemic insights. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "How Charli XCX Reinvented the Pop Album in 39 Days," 19 May 2020 True to its name, this cult-favorite essence clarifies and revives dull complexions at an almost magical speed, due to a nourishing infusion of rosemary and mint essential oils and the brand’s signature grape seed extracts. Jane Sung, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Face Mists to Keep in Your Purse (and Dopp Kit)," 19 May 2020 Acknowledging these unavoidable trade-offs rather than eliding them can clarify decision-making and lead to additional strategies to aid individuals and communities most harmed by Covid-19. Vinay Prasad, STAT, "Covid-19, a ‘supernova in human history,’ will need multiple perspectives to understand and manage," 14 May 2020 Thank you for clarifying that for me and for all of us. Dave Lieber, Dallas News, "NEW! Full Transcript of The Watchdog’s 2020 Property Tax & Appraisal Protest Seminar," 13 May 2020 Byrne also noted that Los Angeles County clarified the 3-month extension of its stay-at-home order doesn’t mean the city would be on a strict lockdown until August. Michael Casagrande |, al, "Alabama AD talks masks, USC rumors, digital tickets and more," 13 May 2020

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

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Clarify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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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

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