Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definition

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable/uncountable] explanation pronunciation in British English /ˌekspləˈneɪʃ(ə)n/ 
Word Forms
  1. 1
    a reason you give for something that has happened or something you have done

    I expected an explanation and an apology.

    explanation for:

    The explanation for this is simple.

    explanation of:

    He gave a detailed explanation of the events leading up to the accident.

    give/offer/provide an explanation:

    You must give me some sort of explanation!

  2. 2
    a description of how something works or of how to do something
    explanation of/about:

    This book provides a clear explanation of how to use the Internet.


a paid holiday given to a new employee before they start their job

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog