ex·​pli·​ca·​tive ek-ˈspli-kə-tiv How to pronounce explicative (audio) ˈek-splə-ˌkā- How to pronounce explicative (audio)
: serving to explicate
specifically : serving to explain logically what is contained in the subject
an explicative proposition
explicatively adverb

Examples of explicative in a Sentence

a dearth of explicative material to help the layman understand the difficult subject matter
Recent Examples on the Web While Clarkson was amazed by her skills, Parton was able to slip in an explicative on daytime television. Vulture, 21 Dec. 2022 Much of the dialogue is obvious and explicative; young Bode sometimes sounds like a middle-aged professor. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 7 Feb. 2020 There are periodic explicative orations about the state of the nation. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 1 Nov. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'explicative.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from New Latin explicātīvus, from Latin explicātus, past participle of explicāre "to free from folds or creases, unroll, spread out, set out in words" + -īvus -ive — more at explicate

Note: The word explicātīvus is categorized as Medieval Latin in Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, though it is not an entry in Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources or Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch.

First Known Use

1602, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of explicative was in 1602

Dictionary Entries Near explicative

Cite this Entry

“Explicative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explicative. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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