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[ik-splan-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ɪkˈsplæn əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/
serving to explain:
an explanatory footnote.
Sometimes, explanative
[ik-splan-uh-tiv] /ɪkˈsplæn ə tɪv/ (Show IPA)
Origin of explanatory
From the Late Latin word explānātōrius, dating back to 1610-20. See explain, -tory1
Related forms
explanatorily, explanatively, adverb
nonexplanative, adjective
nonexplanatory, adjective
preexplanatory, adjective
unexplanatory, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for explanatorily
Historical Examples
  • As Abner appeared properly subdued, he went on explanatorily.

  • "Yes, I am a mere business man," quoth Mr. Hardwill, explanatorily.

    Daisy's Necklace Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  • Then, explanatorily: I mean you seem to be in good physical condition, so that our physician is likely to pass you.

    The Best Policy Elliott Flower
  • "It really has been frightfully hot," Jenny Wick said explanatorily.

    Happy House Betsey Riddle, Freifrau von Hutten zum Stolzenberg
  • We come from the land of the sun-rising,' he went on explanatorily.

  • "You see Mr. Thrush has always lived in London," began Rosamund explanatorily.

    In the Wilderness Robert Hichens
  • "Not for to tear up the paving-stones, lassie," added her father, explanatorily.

    It Never Can Happen Again William De Morgan
  • "A cheerful fire is always inspiring to me," she said explanatorily.

    A Colony of Girls Kate Livingston Willard
British Dictionary definitions for explanatorily


/ɪkˈsplænətərɪ; -trɪ/
serving or intended to serve as an explanation
Derived Forms
explanatorily, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for explanatorily



1610s, from or modeled on Late Latin explanatorius "having to do with an explanation," from Latin explanat-, past participle stem of explanare (see explanation).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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