English

Definition of explanation noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    explanation

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ˌekspləˈneɪʃn//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˌekspləˈneɪʃn//
     
     
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  1. 1  [countable, uncountable] a statement, fact, or situation that tells you why something happened; a reason given for something The most likely explanation is that his plane was delayed. to offer/provide an explanation explanation (for something) I can't think of any possible explanation for his absence. explanation (for doing something) She didn't give an adequate explanation for being late. explanation (of something) The book opens with an explanation of why some drugs are banned. explanation (as to why…) an explanation as to why he had left early She left the room abruptly without explanation. ‘I had to see you,’ he said, by way of explanation. Synonymsreasonexplanation grounds basis excuse motive justification pretextThese are all words for a cause or an explanation for something that has happened or that somebody has done.reason a cause or an explanation for something that has happened or that somebody has done; a fact that makes it right or fair to do something:He said no but he didn’t give a reason.explanation a statement, fact or situation that tells you why something has happened; a reason given for something:The most likely explanation is that his plane was delayed. She left the room abruptly without explanation.grounds (rather formal) a good or true reason for saying, doing or believing something:You have no grounds for complaint.basis (rather formal) the reason why people take a particular action:On what basis will this decision be made?excuse a reason, either true or invented, that you give to explain or defend your behaviour; a good reason that you give for doing something that you want to do for other reasons:Late again! What’s your excuse this time? It gave me an excuse to take the car.motive a reason that explains somebody’s behaviour:There seemed to be no motive for the murder.justification (rather formal) a good reason why something exists or is done:I can see no possible justification for any further tax increases.grounds or justification?Justification is used to talk about finding or understanding reasons for actions, or trying to explain why it is a good idea to do something. It is often used with words like little, no, some, every, without, and not any. Grounds is used more for talking about reasons that already exist, or that have already been decided, for example by law: moral/​economic grounds.pretext (rather formal) a false reason that you give for doing something, usually something bad, in order to hide the real reason:He left the party early on the pretext of having to work.Patterns (a/​an) reason/​explanation/​grounds/​basis/​excuse/​motive/​justification/​pretext for something the reason/​motive behind something on the grounds/​basis/​pretext of/​that… (a) good/​valid reason/​explanation/​grounds/​excuse/​motive/​justification
  2. 2  [countable] a statement or piece of writing that tells you how something works or makes something easier to understand For a full explanation of how the machine works, turn to page 5. The teacher gave the children a detailed explanation of the story.
  3. Word Familyexplain verbexplanation nounexplanatory adjectiveexplicable adjective (inexplicable) Word Origin late Middle English: from Latin explanatio(n-), from the verb explanare, based on planus ‘plain’.Extra examples ‘I’ve worked with them before, you see,’ he added, in explanation. A more credible explanation now occurred to her. An explanation is clearly called for. Another quite plausible explanation presented itself. He entered into a technical explanation about software and programming. He only offered a partial explanation for his lateness. He provided no explanation as to why he was late. Her success has been so remarkable as to defy explanation. I can think of one possible explanation for her behaviour. I had no explanation for her strange behaviour. I suppose you deserve an explanation. I think you owe me an explanation. It’s the only explanation that makes any kind of sense. No further explanation is necessary. No single clear explanation emerged from the experiments. Several possible explanations exist. She launched into a detailed explanation of every aspect of her work. She left suddenly and without explanation. She wrote to the company demanding an explanation. The causal explanation must be that old age causes poverty, not that poverty causes people to be old. The men left quickly with no attempt at explanation. The simplest explanation for his achievements lies in his greater ability and superiority over his contemporaries at college. There is no generally accepted explanation of this practice. There is probably some perfectly logical explanation for their absence. There was no apparent explanation for the attack. There’s sure to be a perfectly innocent explanation for all this—though I admit it looks bizarre. We are still waiting for a full explanation from the teacher concerned. one explanation advanced by Marxist historians post hoc explanations of historical changes that would have made no sense to anyone living at the time the common explanations for cancer He gave a somewhat confused explanation as to why he had left early. I can’t think of any possible explanation for his absence. She didn’t give an adequate explanation for being late. She left the room abruptly without explanation.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: explanation