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

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
Recent Examples on the Web But analogies can sometimes obscure more than clarify. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 25 July 2022 Forton argued that Alabama Supreme Court precedents clarify that state officials do not have the same kind of protections that state agencies do under sovereign immunity. al, 19 July 2022 Outreach to members of the theater community to clarify first principles happened later in the winter. Los Angeles Times, 14 July 2022 Legislators could clarify that language with a new state law, Malloy said. Cameron Sperance,, 26 June 2022 Brownstein remains optimistic that further research will clarify guidance on how best to prescribe the drug. Youri Benadjaoud, ABC News, 22 June 2022 The corrections don’t resolve every issue but clarify what the Treasury Department meant and match the verbal comments from officials, said Pat Brown, co-leader of the national tax office at accounting firm PwC LLP. Richard Rubin, WSJ, 26 July 2022 The series of regulations in April on ghost guns was in the works for almost a year and clarify that the unfinished parts sold in the DIY kits, like handgun frames or long gun receivers, qualify as firearms under federal law. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, 22 July 2022 The conversation crescendoes but ends unsatisfyingly; there’s room for the show to clarify and further explore Mia and Shawna’s respective positions and the ways each pursues her goal. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Clarify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for clarify


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

More from Merriam-Webster on clarify

Nglish: Translation of clarify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clarify for Arabic Speakers


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