[ik-splan-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]


serving to explain: an explanatory footnote.

Sometimes ex·plan·a·tive [ik-splan-uh-tiv] /ɪkˈsplæn ə tɪv/.

Origin of explanatory

From the Late Latin word explānātōrius, dating back to 1610–20. See explain, -tory1
Related formsex·plan·a·to·ri·ly, ex·plan·a·tive·ly, adverbnon·ex·plan·a·tive, adjectivenon·ex·plan·a·to·ry, adjectivepre·ex·plan·a·to·ry, adjectiveun·ex·plan·a·to·ry, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for explanatory

Contemporary Examples of explanatory

Historical Examples of explanatory

  • A letter, let it be ever so explanatory, will only leave them in suspense.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • I was in hopes of one moment, one explanatory word or look from Berenice.

  • And Emilio was no longer at hand to be explanatory if desired.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • The answer, delivered by Mr. Dickens, was condescending and explanatory.

    Cap'n Warren's Wards

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Perhaps we may speak one explanatory word about it and let it go.

    Despair's Last Journey

    David Christie Murray

British Dictionary definitions for explanatory




serving or intended to serve as an explanation
Derived Formsexplanatorily, 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

Word Origin and History for explanatory

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