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 This one’s pretty self-explanatory, in other words. James Lileks, National Review, "Okay Stupid," 19 Dec. 2019 The word bombogenesis is a combination of cyclogenesis, which describes the formation of a cyclone or storm, and bomb, which is, well, pretty self-explanatory. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Bombogenesis: 'Unprecedented' bomb cyclone to blast Northwest," 27 Nov. 2019 This one is pretty self-explanatory, but good coverage is key to every bite being as delicious as the next. Emma Wartzman, Bon Appétit, "6 Rules for a Perfect Grilled Cheese, Every Time," 24 Sep. 2019 Strength is mostly self-explanatory, but extensibility allows for a material to be extended or stretched. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Artificial Spider's Silk Could Be Strong Enough to Replace Plastic," 24 Sep. 2019 Model names will be self-explanatory: a Mach-E4 X will have all-wheel drive and a long-range battery. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Mustang Mach-E: Fast, nimble, smooth. Is this the electric vehicle America’s waited for?," 18 Nov. 2019 The idea behind discount store Five Below is pretty explanatory, but things are about to change. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Five Below raising prices, adding '10 below tech' and gift shop section," 18 Nov. 2019 Each style is named after a special person in Cuttrell's life: The dad jean is appropriately named for her father, Kirk; the Diana Jean is for her style inspiration Princess Di; and the The G.I. Tank and B Jacket are self-explanatory. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bella and Gigi Hadid's Stylist Has a New 3x1 Denim Collab, and It's Cool," 14 Nov. 2019 Self-explanatory, the jeans wouldn’t look a hair out of place on Lil Nas. Tatum Dooley, Teen Vogue, "One-Legged Pants Are The New Trend We Didn't Know We Needed," 7 Sep. 2019

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

6 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Explanatory.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explanatory. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for explanatory


How to pronounce explanatory (audio)

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).


good-natured easy friendliness

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