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 clarify (audio) , ˌkla-​rə-​ \ noun
clarifier \ ˈkler-​ə-​ˌfī(-​ə)r How to pronounce clarify (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 Raddatz asked the secretary to clarify the Biden administration's position on a new Washington Post report that detailed how the GOP senators planned to distribute a potential package. Davone Morales, ABC News, 30 May 2021 The Union-Tribune asked the Defense department to clarify whether any of the unidentified phenomenon in the UAP videos have since been identified. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 May 2021 Another suit that began in Ohio asked the court to clarify when cities can be sued for altercations involving their police. John Fritze, USA TODAY, 24 May 2021 Unfamiliar with the practice, Phan asked Jenner to clarify. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, 15 May 2021 But the discrepancy between English- and Hebrew-language reports set off a frantic race in Israeli newsrooms and foreign news bureaus to clarify the situation on the ground. New York Times, 14 May 2021 To clarify, Blake isn't shading Cam at all — but what the country star could be taking a dig at with his compliment is how Voice winners have been treated in the past. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, 13 May 2021 To clarify, Univision acquired Televisa content and media assets. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2021 The backlash that followed forced Facebook to delay the change to May 15th, with the company giving itself more than three extra months to clarify what the changes mean. Chris Smith, BGR, 10 May 2021

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

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Clarify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for clarify



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 clarify (audio) \ noun
clarifier \ ˈklar-​ə-​ˌfī(-​ə)r How to pronounce clarify (audio) \ noun


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