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 explanatorily (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

The 10 paintings with explanatory wall labels would be, to my mind, perfectly self-sufficient without them. Peter Plagens, WSJ, "‘Charline von Heyl: Snake Eyes’ Review: A Pro in Need of Poetry," 18 Dec. 2018 Some introductory text or explanatory narration would have better helped historically ground viewers, who need to juggle a lot of information. Kimberly Reed, New York Times, "Review: Tracking ‘Dark Money’ in Montana Elections," 12 July 2018 The fluid structure, which allows the past to make brief explanatory returns, accommodates significant leaps in time. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "The women of 'A Thousand Splendid Suns,' casting a spell onstage," 5 June 2018 Now restored to their original splendor, and enhanced by far more explanatory information on display here, the magnificent Cast Courts invite us to marvel at the excellence of the then-novel technology behind all these exhibits. Richard Cork, WSJ, "Worthy Imitations Worth a Visit," 18 Dec. 2018 Remorseful rhymes, or even explanatory ones, could've increased his public standing even further. Eric Renner Brown, Billboard, "Kanye West's 'Ye' Is a Missed Opportunity for Redemption," 4 June 2018 The 14 wayside panels that Lake Mead National Recreation Area plans to install along the trail will contain historic black-and-white photos and explanatory text. Anne Burke, San Francisco Chronicle, "You no longer need a snorkel to see this Nevada ghost town," 30 Apr. 2018 The letter alleges that six weekly schedules and other explanatory documents that were provided to him show that Pruitt used between two and three dozen different agents during a six-week period. Sara Ganim And Rene Marsh, CNN, "Senator: Pruitt security included Disneyland, Rose Bowl trips," 30 Mar. 2018 Down El Chapo by Corey Seymour Pretty self-explanatory, actually. Vogue, "Our Favorite Longreads From 2018," 21 Dec. 2018

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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Statistics for explanatory

Last Updated

26 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for explanatory

The first known use of explanatory was in 1600

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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

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


showing great care, attention, and effort

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