clarify

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English[edit]

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “clarify” in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English clarifien, from Old French clarifiier, from Latin clārificō, clārificāre; clārus (clear) + faciō, facere (make). Semantically clear +‎ -ify

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈklæɹɪfaɪ/
  • (file)

Verb[edit]

clarify (third-person singular simple present clarifies, present participle clarifying, simple past and past participle clarified)

  1. (of liquids, such as wine or syrup) To make clear or bright by freeing from feculent matter.
  2. To make clear or easily understood; to explain in order to remove doubt or obscurity.
    Synonyms: explicitize, get something straight
    • 1692–1717, Robert South, Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), 6th edition, London: [] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1727, OCLC 21766567:
      To clarify his reason, to rectify his will.
    • 2014, Mario Martinez, The MindBody Code: How to Change the Beliefs that Limit Your Health, Longevity, and Success
      We assimilate cultural interpretations based on the value our cultural editors determine and the level of abundance we are allowed to have without violating tribal horizons. I should clarify that I am not suggesting that we are passive recipients of everything the cultural editors tell us about ourselves.
    • 2015, United States Department of Justice, Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department
      The report does not clarify what investigation the supervisor did, if any, to assess the suspect's allegations, or how he determined that the allegations were false. Supervisors also fail to provide recommendations for how to ensure officer safety and minimize the need for force going forward.
  3. (ergative) To grow or become clear or transparent; to become free from feculent impurities, as wine or other liquid under clarification.
    Leave the wine for 24 hours and it will clarify.
  4. (ergative) To grow clear or bright; to clear up.
  5. (obsolete) To glorify.

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