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 shoe is part of Nike’s ongoing collaboration with Japanese fashion label Undercover, and the report says Chinese retailers have been pulling it from sale without explanation. Marc Bain, Quartz, "Nike reportedly halted a shoe release in China after its co-designer supported Hong Kong protesters," 26 June 2019 Whistle-blower complaint An administrative assistant at Fremont High School said she was fired in December without explanation after raising questions about unusual financial transactions. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: Candlestick’s future is moving forward — fast," 25 June 2019 At least 16 other judges allowed internal documents produced by Purdue in lawsuits filed between 2001 and 2007 to be sealed without explanation. NBC News, "How judges added to the grim toll of opioids," 25 June 2019 In May, Huawei laptops mysteriously vanished from the Microsoft online store without explanation. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Huawei laptops quietly return to the Microsoft Store, though the federal ban remains in place," 17 June 2019 Rafael was separated from the family, without explanation, and taken to a facility in Pearsall, Texas. Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker, "How Families Separated at the Border Could Make the Government Pay," 15 June 2019 But Kiltz said the artwork from the project was displayed June 5 without notification of school administration and without an explanation of the context for the assignment. Bob Dohr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Greendale High School officials take down a student's art piece on racism, saying it could create a disruption," 7 June 2019 During a live demo, one of the Spot robots collapsed without explanation, folding up its legs and nose-diving to the floor before a replacement trotted onstage. James Vincent, The Verge, "Boston Dynamics prepares to launch its first commercial robot: Spot," 5 June 2019 Without such explanation, Nina Petrovskaya’s story would be incomprehensible, and perhaps even uninteresting. Sarah Vitali, Harper's magazine, "Kill Your Darlings," 10 May 2019

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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Statistics for explanation

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

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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 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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food or victuals

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