explanation-n; 2 Senses

Sense Number 1: the act of providing a clarifying account of something

Commentary: EXPLANATION[+action][+communication][+account][+clarifying]
NOTE: implies an agent/actor performing a speech act, spoken or written
NOTE: nominalization - his explanation of the accident -> he explained the accident

The professor's explanation of the chemical process confused some of the students.
We owe Mary an explanation for why we missed the meeting.
The judge listened carefully to the defendant's explanation of the accident.
John's application was rejected without any explanation from the hiring committee.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1, 3

Sense Number 2: a rationale or reason for something

Commentary: EXPLANATION[+relation][+rationale]
NOTE: an event, fact, belief, situation that is the reason or cause for something else
NOTE: does not imply a speech act performed by an actor (Sense 1)

The birth rate is central to any explanation of population trends.
Freud tried to make sex the explanation for all human behavior.
His theory is not a convincing explanation of what is actually found in the fossil record.
His deafness must be the explanation for why he didn't pick up the phone.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 2