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

Pat Brennan's explanation of The Enquirer's Player of the Month vote My vote for June's Player of the Month was cast for Emmanuel Ledesma. Patrick Brennan, Cincinnati.com, "FC Cincinnati's Emmanuel Ledesma named USL Player of the Month for June," 12 July 2018 Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a child safety seat or booster seat per manufacturer's instructions, according to Indiana State Police's explanation of the state's child restraint law. Megan Henry, Indianapolis Star, "4-year-old not sitting in car seat dies after accident," 23 June 2018 This entire episode is about reading and interpreting, knowing and not knowing: This jacket’s brief message has drawn us all into the task of exegesis — the critical explanation of a text. Rhonda Garelick, The Cut, "The Jacket Heard Round the World," 22 June 2018 In the second episode, Luke and Claire (Rosario Dawson) have a little verbal fight that seems like a couple not seeing eye to eye, but devolves into an explanation of what happened in the show’s first season. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "What went right and what went wrong for Luke Cage’s second season," 22 June 2018 And so the administration’s public explanation of this policy toggles between three mutually exclusive positions. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Why Trump Is Using Hostage Tactics on Family Separation," 18 June 2018 In its typical invocation, chemistry is a cop-out—an after-the-fact explanation of why a team won, especially against the odds. Ben Rowen, The Atlantic, "Finding the Formula for Team Chemistry," 15 June 2018 The notice of appeal does not contain an explanation of why the rulings by U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo were being challenged. Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com, "Gas pipeline firms appeal federal judge's order to pay for canal erosion," 4 June 2018 The usual explanation of what determines galactic size has also been knocked down, says Sandra Faber, an astronomer at UC Santa Cruz who works with VELA. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Galaxy simulations are at last matching reality—and producing surprising insights into cosmic evolution," 30 May 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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by way of explanation

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Last Updated

13 Sep 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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Comments on explanation

What made you want to look up explanation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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