ex·​pla·​na·​tion | \ ˌek-splə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce explanation (audio) \

Definition of explanation

1 : the act or process of explaining
2 : something that explains gave no explanation

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Examples of explanation in a Sentence

The professor's explanation was that the poem is really a parody. an explanation of photosynthesis that most museum visitors will be able to understand
Recent Examples on the Web In the absence of any explanation, The Oregonian/OregonLive used publicly available records to try to make sense of the situation. oregonlive, "The White House said Oregon ranked in the bottom four for coronavirus testing. Was that true?," 16 May 2020 The letter gives no explanation for the expulsions. BostonGlobe.com, "European countries offer more economic relief from pandemic," 15 May 2020 Lost was almost over, and here was a journey back beyond the beginning, eradicating any hope of straightforward explanation. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Ten years later, Lost's most tantalizing mysteries are still 'Across the Sea'," 11 May 2020 In an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report on the state's employment picture, economists offered a number of potential explanations to account for Georgia outpacing much of the nation. Alicia Wallace, CNN, "Why unemployment claims are so much higher in Kentucky, Hawaii and Georgia," 8 May 2020 Using this technique to narrow the field of potential explanations, Gáspár and Rieke hypothesize that Fomalhaut b was never a planet at all, much less a disappearing one. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "‘Disappearing’ Exoplanet Might Not Have Been a Planet After All," 22 Apr. 2020 In all these cases, if allopregnanolone is kind of a second hit on top of that early-life adversity, that can help give us a biological explanation for that vulnerability. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, "Why Women May Be More Susceptible to Mood Disorders," 14 Apr. 2020 But experts point out that the data, which was only captured on one slide, gave no explanation as to the time period that the deaths are supposed to occur. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "Experts Doubt Validity Of White House Death Toll Projections," 3 Apr. 2020 Despite Grimes' explanation, some are still wondering how to pronounce X Æ A-12 and have flooded social media with memes about the baby's eccentric name. NBC News, "Grimes explained her and Elon Musk's unusual baby name — and people are still confused," 6 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'explanation.' 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 explanation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for explanation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for explanation

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Explanation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explanation. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for explanation


How to pronounce explanation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of explanation

: the act or process of making something clear or easy to understand : the act or process of telling, showing, or being the reason for or cause of something
: something (such as a statement or fact) that explains something


ex·​pla·​na·​tion | \ ˌek-splə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce explanation (audio) \

Kids Definition of explanation

1 : the act or process of making clear or giving reasons for “Nothin' happened,” said Stacey in explanation— Mildred D. Taylor, Roll of Thunder
2 : a statement that makes something clear or gives reasons for something

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