ex·​plan·​a·​to·​ry | \ ik-ˈspla-nə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce explanatory (audio) \

Definition of explanatory

: serving to explain explanatory notes

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Other Words from explanatory

explanatorily \ ik-​ˌspla-​nə-​ˈtȯr-​ə-​lē How to pronounce explanatory (audio) \ adverb

Examples of explanatory in a Sentence

There are explanatory notes at the front of the book. the explanatory section has as its heading “What the New Tax Changes Mean”
Recent Examples on the Web As a financial and cultural event, this all seems genuinely novel, with no single precedent able to hold much explanatory power. New York Times, "Everything’s a Joke Until It’s Not," 29 Jan. 2021 It’s the hypothesis that has the most explanatory power. Sabine Hossenfelder, Scientific American, "The Truth about Scientific Models," 18 June 2020 Most of the time, such losses were fairly self-explanatory: A stuffy, inflamed nose keeps odorants from reaching the smell receptors at the top of the airway. New York Times, "What Can Covid-19 Teach Us About the Mysteries of Smell?," 28 Jan. 2021 And the conditions that helped spread Q still exist: viral networks of disinformation, social isolation, political cynicism, and material deprivation that leaves people looking for explanatory narratives. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, "We Mock QAnon at Our Own Risk," 20 Jan. 2021 The most popular food stories that Dallas Morning News food reporters wrote in 2020 were often explanatory pieces about dining during the coronavirus pandemic. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, "Dallas’ 10 most popular food stories in 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 The weather and calendar widgets are mostly self-explanatory, offering useful information at a glance. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Kicking off the new year with a screen cleanse," 5 Jan. 2021 The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America has a title that is pretty self explanatory. Essence, "Ijeoma Oluo’s New Book Explores Why Black America Is Tired of Mediocre White Men," 16 Dec. 2020 The available yards percentage is fairly self-explanatory. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "The numbers that bring context to Alabama’s offensive outburst," 3 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'explanatory.' 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 explanatory

1600, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for explanatory

Time Traveler

The first known use of explanatory was in 1600

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Statistics for explanatory

Last Updated

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Explanatory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explanatory. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for explanatory



English Language Learners Definition of explanatory

: made or included in order to explain something


ex·​plan·​a·​to·​ry | \ ik-ˈspla-nə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce explanatory (audio) \

Kids Definition of explanatory

: giving explanation explanatory notes

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Comments on explanatory

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