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 One explanation why the current field might stick around through Nevada and South Carolina is because the field already got winnowed — not by Iowa and New Hampshire, but instead by the DNC’s debate-qualification process. Chuck Todd, NBC News, "FIRST READ: How 2020 took away the most important role of Iowa and New Hampshire," 11 Feb. 2020 One explanation may be that Shlayer operators must bombard Mac users over and over in a brute-force fashion to compensate for extremely low success rates. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Mac users are getting bombarded by laughably unsophisticated malware," 23 Jan. 2020 One explanation for lack of airtime is the unspoken rule that two female artists cannot be played back-to-back, for fear of losing listeners. Kristin Vartan, EW.com, "CMT commits to equal airtime for music videos by men and women," 21 Jan. 2020 One important explanation for the lower tax rate paid by corporations is that many are writing off previous losses. Dallas News, "Trump slashed corporate tax rates to 21%, but many companies paid far less than that," 12 Jan. 2020 That is one explanation for the eruption of what became in 2019 an almost global rebellion against the powers that be. The Economist, "2019 in review: Protest and global warming," 28 Dec. 2019 One explanation for the relative scarcity of production facilities posits that factories were built outside of towns and cities. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Ancient Roman Fish Sauce Factory Unearthed in Israel," 19 Dec. 2019 One explanation for the decrease in innovation leads right back to Silicon Valley. Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, "The Real Trouble With Silicon Valley," 17 Dec. 2019 One explanation is that Russian IRA trolls used Reddit to test-drive their messages. Josephine Lukito, Quartz, "How to avoid another Russian-troll misinformation nightmare in 2020," 13 Dec. 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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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

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Explanation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explanation. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for explanation


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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