How can I express that an explanation is clear, considering the intrinsic difficulty of the topic? I mean that the explanation might not be easy to understand, if the subject matter is intrinsically hard, but a superlatively adjectivy explanation is one that is as clear as it can get. Someone who frequently produces such explanations could be said to have good teaching skills. What's a good word to substitute for adjectivy?

The word that comes to my mind is the French word “pédagogique”, which a dictionary describes as meaning roughly “as coming from a good teacher”. Unfortunately the corresponding English word has negative connotations instead.

  • What is the English equivalent word that you looked? As far as I know, pedagogic doesn't have a negative connotation. – kiamlaluno Mar 13 '11 at 0:16
  • If the related word is indeed pedagogic or pedagogical, then there is no negative connotation, but I don't think it's what the asker is looking for either. Both words simply mean "related to teaching". – sapphiremirage Mar 13 '11 at 0:25
  • @sapphiremirage: In fact, you can replace teaching with pedagogic and get a sentence like "they show great pedagogic skills." I don't think there is an English words that means "coming from a good teacher". As for the negative connotation associated with pedagogue, both pedagogue and French pédagogie come from a Greek word that was used to denote a slave who accompanied a child to school. – kiamlaluno Mar 13 '11 at 0:32
  • @kiamlaluno: Pedagogue: “One who by teaching has become formal, positive, or pedantic in his ways; (…) a pedant.” (one of the meanings in Webster 1913, which defines pedagogic by reference to pedagogue). Wiktionary (I know, not reliable) gives “haughty and formal” as a meaning. So pedagogic looks neutral or negative (whereas the French word is neutral or positive). – Gilles Mar 13 '11 at 0:37
  • Pedagogic: of or relating to teaching; pedagogue: a teacher, especially a strict or pedantic one. [The New Oxford American Dictionary.] – kiamlaluno Mar 13 '11 at 0:42

Lucid is an excellent candidate; perspicuous is a worthy synonym. Thus:

  • ...but a superlatively lucid explanation is one that is as clear as it can get.
  • ...but a superlatively perspicuous explanation is one that is as clear as it can get.

Lucid and perspicuous, as proposed by Jimi, are good matches. If you want to convey the meaning of “convincing” in addition to “teaching”, you can also go with cogent.

  • +1 for "lucid" and "cogent." I think cogent is particularly good. – jbelacqua Mar 18 '11 at 16:28

A few words that may or may not inspire:


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