Synonyms of clarify in English:
Choose the right word
clarify, construe, elucidate, explain, explicate, interpret
When a biology teacher gets up in front of a class and tries to explain how two brown-eyed parents can produce a blue-eyed child, the purpose is to make an entire process or sequence of events understandable. In a less formal sense, to explain is to make a verbal attempt to justify certain actions or to make them understood ( she tried to explain why she was so late). That same teacher might clarify a particular exam question that almost everyone in the class got wrong—clarify being a word that means to make an earlier event, situation, or statement clear. Elucidate is a more formal word meaning to clarify, but where the root of the latter refers to clearness, the root of the former refers to light; to elucidate is to shed light on something through explanation, illustration, etc. ( the principal's comments were an attempt to elucidate the school's policy on cheating). A teacher who explicates something discusses a complex subject in a point-by-point manner ( to explicate a poem). If a personal judgment is inserted in making such an explication, the correct word is interpret ( to interpret a poem's symbolic meanings). To construe is to make a careful interpretation of something, especially where the meaning is ambiguous. For example, when a class misbehaves in front of a visitor, the teacher is likely to construe that behavior as an attempt to cause embarrassment or ridicule.
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.