Explain vs. Define

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Explain and Define is that the Explain is a set of statements constructed to describe a set of facts and Define is a statement that explains the meaning of a term.

  • Explain

    An explanation is a set of statements usually constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, context, and consequences of those facts. This description of the facts et cetera may establish rules or laws, and may clarify the existing rules or laws in relation to any objects, or phenomena examined. The components of an explanation can be implicit, and interwoven with one another.

    An explanation is often underpinned by an understanding or norm that can be represented by different media such as music, text, and graphics. Thus, an explanation is subjected to interpretation, and discussion.

    In scientific research, explanation is one of several purposes for empirical research. Explanation is a way to uncover new knowledge, and to report relationships among different aspects of studied phenomena. Explanation attempts to answer the “why” and “how” questions. Explanations have varied explanatory power. The formal hypothesis is the theoretical tool used to verify explanation in empirical research.

  • Define

    A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word, phrase, or other set of symbols). Definitions can be classified into two large categories, intensional definitions (which try to give the essence of a term) and extensional definitions (which proceed by listing the objects that a term describes). Another important category of definitions is the class of ostensive definitions, which convey the meaning of a term by pointing out examples. A term may have many different senses and multiple meanings, and thus require multiple definitions.In mathematics, a definition is used to give a precise meaning to a new term, instead of describing a pre-existing term. Definitions and axioms are the basis on which all of modern mathematics is constructed.

  • Explain (verb)

    To make plain, manifest, or intelligible; to clear of obscurity; to illustrate the meaning of.

    “To explain a chapter of the Bible.”

  • Explain (verb)

    To give a valid excuse for some past behavior.

  • Explain (verb)

    To make flat, smooth out.

  • Explain (verb)

    To unfold or make visible.

  • Define (verb)

    To determine with precision; to mark out with distinctness; to ascertain or exhibit clearly.

    “the defining power of an optical instrument”

  • Define (verb)

    To settle, decide an argument etc. 16th-17th c.

  • Define (verb)

    To express the essential nature of something.

    “I define myself as a techno-anarchist.”

  • Define (verb)

    To state the meaning of a word, phrase, sign, or symbol.

    “The textbook defined speed as velocity divided by time.”

  • Define (verb)

    To describe, explain, or make definite and clear.

  • Define (verb)

    To demark sharply the outlines or limits of an area or concept.

    “to define the legal boundaries of a property”

  • Define (verb)

    To establish the referent of a term or notation.

  • Define (noun)

    A kind of macro in source code that replaces one text string with another wherever it occurs.

  • Explain (verb)

    make (an idea or situation) clear to someone by describing it in more detail or revealing relevant facts

    “he explained the situation”

    “‘It’s a device of great age,’ the professor explained”

    “they explained that their lives centred on the religious rituals”

  • Explain (verb)

    give a reason so as to justify or excuse (an action or event)

    “I explained about Maureen calling round”

    “he makes athletes explain why they made a mistake”

    “Cassie found it necessary to explain her blackened eye”

  • Explain (verb)

    be the cause of or motivating factor for

    “this would explain why so many adult children still live with their parents”

    “her father’s violence explains her pacifism”

  • Explain (verb)

    minimize the significance of an embarrassing fact or action by giving an excuse or justification

    “they know stories about me that I can’t explain away”

  • Define (verb)

    state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of

    “the contract will seek to define the client’s obligations”

  • Define (verb)

    give the meaning of (a word or phrase), especially in a dictionary

    “the dictionary defines it as ‘a type of pasture’”

  • Define (verb)

    make up or establish the character or essence of

    “for some, the football club defines their identity”

  • Define (verb)

    mark out the boundary or limits of

    “the river defines the park’s boundary”

  • Define (verb)

    make clear the outline of; delineate

    “she defined her eyes by applying eyeshadow to her eyelids”

Oxford Dictionary

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