from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To make clear the meaning of; explain. See Synonyms at explain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To explain meticulously or in great detail; to elucidate; to analyze.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Evolved; unfolded.
  • transitive v. To unfold; to expand; to lay open.
  • transitive v. To unfold the meaning or sense of; to explain; to clear of difficulties or obscurity; to interpret.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To unfold; expand; open.
  • To unfold the meaning or sense of; explain; interpret.
  • To give an explanation.
  • Unfolded; explicated.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make plain and comprehensible
  • v. elaborate, as of theories and hypotheses


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin explicāre, explicāt-, to unfold, explain : ex-, ex- + plicāre, to fold; see plek- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin explicāre, present active infinitive of explicō ("unfold", "to explain").


  • Could you contact orthoneurologists if that's even a word and explicate the two star quarterbacks' respective injuries?

    NYT > Home Page

  • The real difference is that Auerbach is attempting to explicate the text in front of him, to help the reader "see" more fully what is really going on in the scene from the Odyssey.

    Literary Study

  • Such critics might have been able to explicate the novel more rigorously and with a more informed perspective on its historical, national-literary, and biographical contexts.

    Book Reviewing

  • Further, both the looser, more informal structure and the reader-friendly critical language Thirlwell employs seem to me to work to accomplish one of criticism's legitimate tasks, which is to explicate features of literary works that are not necessarily obvious to all readers, that require the critic to call attention to them as evocatively as possible.

    Translated Texts

  • I share your impatience with topical books or books that don't try to do anything but explicate a theme, but I don't see why saying something is incompatible with literary performance.

    Doing Something as a Reality

  • I myself generally adopt the latter strategy when attempting a review of an unconventional work, although I don't so much try to make the work fit the existing categories as to explicate what it seems to me to be doing that effectively replaces or substitutues for those categories.

    Experimental Fiction

  • Years ago I had the opportunity to visit the santeria shrine at Barracoa in Cuba with a practitioner who was ready to explicate the beliefs behind African religion.

    An Interview with Robert Stone

  • He saw the manifest aspect of the universe in space and time as part of an explicate order, and that underlying the substrate of matter is an implicate order, which is generative and holographic.

    James O'Dea: Finding the Holy of Holies: Sticky Particles and the Ground of All Being

  • Thadani may intend these to illustrate the "language" he is trying to explicate, but they tend to be repetitive, and the weight given them is excessive, given their sometimes tenuous connections to towns or cities.

    Frank Gruber: Talking Urban: A Review of The Language of Towns and Cities by Dhiru A. Thadani

  • In surges of mesmerizing sentences that are so complicated, clever, artful, and logically challenging that they read almost like aphorisms, Krauss aims to explicate, not the underlying implications of her characters 'behavior, but the very cycles of history.

    Janet Byrne: Nicole Krauss's 'Great House' Reviewed


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  • We can never wholly explicate a poem any more than we can explicate ourselves, or another person—but we can try to come close.

    Donald Hall, "To Read Poetry"

    July 27, 2011

  • See implicate for usage note.

    August 4, 2008