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 The reasons are layered and require explanation, but the short answer is this is what Carlisle does. Dallas News, "The reasons why Rick Carlisle switched up Mavs’ starting lineup for 28th time — and why it worked so well," 13 May 2021 Get the latest updates and a detailed explanation of testing and quarantine rules at https://www.gohawaii.com/travel-requirements. Melissa Yeager, The Arizona Republic, "Southwest Airlines adds 4 nonstop Phoenix to Hawaii routes. Here's where you can fly," 13 May 2021 The whole way back, Beth doesn't offer an explanation and Randall doesn't press for one. Amanda Ostuni, EW.com, "This Is Us recap: Beth loses her professional joy," 12 May 2021 No single explanation can capture the complexity of these population shifts. Washington Post, "How America’s ‘places to be’ have shifted over the past 100 years," 12 May 2021 Baffert’s explanation on Tuesday may have closed the window on a defense that will allow Medina Spirit to remain the winner of the race. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "Derby winner Medina Spirit failed-test mystery solved, but Preakness still in doubt," 11 May 2021 Anyone named in it can contest its release temporarily, and the public is not entitled to an explanation under state law. Rafael Olmeda, sun-sentinel.com, "Prosecutors hold back details of charges against school board lawyer Barbara Myrick," 11 May 2021 Many people were not impressed by the park’s explanation and had questions about the government’s actions, the frantic search and the well-being of the leopards that were hunted down. Chris Buckley, New York Times, "Was That a Giant Cat? Leopards Escape, and a Zoo Keeps Silent (at First).," 10 May 2021 Yellen's explanation puts those numbers in context. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "The April 2021 jobs report shows women are still falling behind. Janet Yellen knows why," 10 May 2021

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

16 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Explanation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explanation. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for explanation



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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