Translation | Explication | Classification | Description

What is a banana? Let’s explicate it!

As mentioned on the Elaboration page, you are going to learn about four strategies for elaborating definitions. The second strategy is explication.

What is explication?

In its simplest form, this method involves identifying a single keyword (or phrase) in   the original definition and taking steps to better explain the meaning of it to others. The explication method can be stated in five basic steps:

  1. Identify your target audience: Which group of people do you wish to understand your definition?
  2. Look back at your translated definition (the one you boxed, labelled, and counted).
  3. While thinking of your target audience, identify one keyword (or key phrase) in your translated definition and highlight the word (or phrase) with a green highlighter.
    • One way to identify the keyword or phrase is to determine which word or phrase is the one upon which most of the meaning of the thing itself depends.
  4. Use explication tools to gain a better understanding of this keyword or phrase.
    • Remember, explication also means to explain, so pretend that you must explain this keyword or phrase to someone with less knowledge and/or understanding of it than you.
  5. Revise/rewrite the translated definition by replacing or supplementing the keyword or phrase with your newly acquired, explicated knowledge.
    • This new definition should now be more understandable not only to you, but also by the people in your target audience.

Some useful explication tools…


  1. Your teacher asks that you record all of your explication work in your Lab Notebook.
  2. Your explication work should be identified by a title that closely resembles the following example: Banana weeLAB™ – Explication
  3. Your final ‘explicated’ definition should be boxed (i.e., enclosed in a neatly drawn rectangle) and labelled by a title placed just outside–and above–the top left corner of the box (the title should be “Explicated definition”).
  4. Finally, you should perform a word count of your final explicated definition and list this word count just outside–and under–the bottom right corner of the boxed definition.


Last updated: September 2019