English Edit

Etymology Edit

Borrowed from Latin explicāre, present active infinitive of explicō (unfold, explain).[1]

Pronunciation Edit

Verb Edit

explicate (third-person singular simple present explicates, present participle explicating, simple past and past participle explicated)

  1. (transitive) To explain meticulously or in great detail.
    Synonyms: analyze, elucidate, explicitate
    My homework is to explicate a poem.
    • 1651, Jer[emy] Taylor, “Of Christian Religion”, in The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living. [], 2nd edition, London: [] Francis Ashe [], →OCLC, section VII (Of Prayer), page 284:
      It is an act of grace and higheſt honour that we duſt and aſhes are admitted to ſpeak to the Eternal God, to run to him as to a Father, to lay open our wants, to complain of our burdens, to explicate our ſcruples, to beg remedy & eaſe, ſupport and counſel, health and ſafety, deliverance & ſalvation: []
    • 1969, Susan Sontag, “Persona”, in Styles of Radical Will, Penguin Modern Classics, published 2009, →ISBN:
      Alternatively, there is the possibility of an extended narration composed of events that are not (wholly) explicated but are, nevertheless, possible and may even have taken place.
    • 1989, Greil Marcus, “The Crash of Yesterday's Art”, in Lipstick Traces, Faber & Faber, published 2009:
      Isou himself, enemy of all conventional discourse, wrote hundreds, then thousands of pages explicating his theories; []
    • 2005 April 15, Michiko Kakutani, “The Plot Thins, or Are No Stories New?”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      In laying out these archetypes, Mr. Booker [] does a nimble job of collating dozens of stories, using the 34 years he says it took him to write this volume to identify and explicate all sorts of parallels and analogies that might not occur to the casual reader.

Related terms Edit

Translations Edit

Adjective Edit

explicate (comparative more explicate, superlative most explicate)

  1. (obsolete) Evolved; unfolded.

References Edit

  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “explicate”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

Further reading Edit

Latin Edit

Adverb Edit

explicātē (not comparable)

  1. clearly, plainly

Verb Edit


  1. second-person plural present active imperative of explicō

Further reading Edit

  • explicate”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • explicate”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • explicate in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[2], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • (ambiguous) to frown: frontem contrahere (opp. explicare)
    • (ambiguous) to give lectures: scholas habere, explicare (Fin. 2. 1. 1)
    • (ambiguous) to explain one's sentiments: sententias (verbis) explicare, aperire
    • (ambiguous) to give a full, detailed account of a thing: pluribus verbis, copiosius explicare, persequi aliquid
    • (ambiguous) to explain a matter briefly, in a few words (not paucis verbis): breviter, paucis explicare aliquid
    • (ambiguous) to open a book: volumen explicare
    • (ambiguous) to extend the line of battle, deploy the battalions: aciem explicare or dilatare

Spanish Edit

Verb Edit


  1. second-person singular voseo imperative of explicar combined with te