ex·​pla·​na·​tion | \ˌek-splə-ˈnā-shən \

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

If a tree shows leaf scorch without any obvious explanation, call in a certified professional arborist to look for a cause. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Brown leaves in summer probably signal scorched plants," 11 July 2018 Ghosting is when a person abruptly goes silent or disappears without explanation. CBS News, "The job market is apparently so hot people are ghosting potential employers," 11 July 2018 A few weeks ago, without explanation, another change at the facility jolted Claudia: Heyli’s female caregiver, Miriam, was replaced by a man named Jose. Jay Root And Shannon Najmabadi, star-telegram, "'A very cruel punishment': Family split by 'zero tolerance' won't try to cross again," 10 July 2018 That same day, officials took away the boy without explanation, according to a class-action lawsuit against the government filed by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. Nina Shapiro, The Seattle Times, "Mom seeking asylum released in Washington state, but can’t see her son yet," 8 July 2018 After access to the facility was approved last week, access was denied to the courtrooms when guards said the proceedings were closed, without explanation. Molly Hennessy-fiske, latimes.com, "Impact of ‘zero tolerance’ on display in Texas immigration court. One after another, asylum seekers are ordered deported," 5 July 2018 But in June 2017, after Trump took office, DHS shuttered the program without explanation. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "The Trump administration says it must lock up families to keep them together. That’s not true.," 2 July 2018 Electronic devices turn off and on without explanation. Lainey Seyler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dear Mr. President, did you know the Milwaukee hotel where you're staying might be haunted?," 27 June 2018 Police said Jesse had a history of leaving home without explanation or permission. Nathan J. Fish, azcentral, "Jesse Wilson autopsy released; many questions still unanswered," 20 June 2018

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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Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for explanation

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

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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 \

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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by force of circumstances

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