[ ek-spluh-ney-shuhn ]
/ ˌɛk spləˈneɪ ʃən /


the act or process of explaining.
something that explains; a statement made to clarify something and make it understandable; exposition: an explanation of a poem.
a meaning or interpretation: to find an explanation for a mystery.
a mutual declaration of the meaning of words spoken, actions, motives, etc., with a view to adjusting a misunderstanding or reconciling differences: After a long and emotional explanation they were friends again.

Nearby words

  1. expiscate,
  2. explain,
  3. explain away,
  4. explain oneself,
  5. explanate,
  6. explanatory,
  7. explant,
  8. explement,
  9. explemental,
  10. explementary

Origin of explanation

1350–1400; Middle English explanacioun < Latin explānātiōn- (stem of explānātiō), equivalent to explānāt(us) (see explanate) + -iōn- -ion

Related formso·ver·ex·pla·na·tion, nounpre·ex·pla·na·tion, nounre·ex·pla·na·tion, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for explanation

British Dictionary definitions for explanation


/ (ˌɛkspləˈneɪʃən) /


the act or process of explaining
a statement or occurrence that explains
a clarification of disputed terms or points; reconciliation
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

Word Origin and History for explanation



late 14c., from Latin explanationem (nominative explanatio), noun of action from past participle stem of explanare "to make plain or clear, explain," literally "make level, flatten," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + planus "flat" (see plane (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper