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 second explanation is like a great rookie on a declining sports team who stirs and inspires, almost like magic. Fred Barnes, Washington Examiner, "GOP women brought the energy to congressional races," 19 Nov. 2020 One explanation for that is that Reagan was always an actor at heart. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, "How Ronald and Nancy Reagan Constructed the Perfect American Myth," 16 Nov. 2020 The logical explanation is that wolves didn’t contribute substantially to the dog gene pool after domestication. Grace Huckins, Wired, "Ancient Dog DNA Reveals Their Enduring Connection With People," 16 Nov. 2020 The possible explanation for this is to prevent Wilson from having enough time to throw deep passes, which has decreased markedly in the past few games. oregonlive, "Seattle Seahawks’ offense disappears during loss to the Los Angeles Rams: 10 studs and duds," 15 Nov. 2020 Scientists don’t know why that is, Lembke says, but a possible explanation is that the body evolved it as a compensatory coping mechanism. Lily Janiak, SFChronicle.com, "Biden won the election, but doomscrolling is here to stay," 14 Nov. 2020 One possible explanation would be that voters were paying less attention to Senate races than presidential races and therefore were unaware of their own preference. Gloria Dickie, Scientific American, "Why Polls Were Mostly Wrong," 13 Nov. 2020 One explanation for polls underestimating support for Donald Trump in 2016 is that state-level polls did not include enough white voters without college degrees, who overwhelmingly supported Trump. Baobao Zhang, Fortune, "In defense of pollsters," 13 Nov. 2020 The full explanation for the misses will not be knowable for months, until the election results are finalized, detailed poll data is released by survey firms, and public voter files — showing exactly who voted — are also released. David Leonhardt, New York Times, "‘A Black Eye’: Why Political Polling Missed the Mark. Again.," 12 Nov. 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

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

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Last Updated

23 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Explanation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explanation. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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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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