For instance, if I wrote "word" with poor handwriting, and you couldn't tell what it was, but then I told you that it said "word", and you replied, "Ah, I see how it could say word." Is there a word describing this type of after-the-fact realization?

  • You might check synonyms of eureka or eureka moment. – Hot Licks Feb 6 '19 at 3:13

I like the informal definition of “click” (from OED):


(verb, informal):

Become suddenly clear or understandable.

‘I wasn't used to such good treatment, then it clicked: we were wearing suits’


If someone 'sees' something after an explanation it is 'enlightenment'.

The action of bringing someone to a state of greater knowledge, understanding, or insight; the state of being enlightened in this way. Also: an instance of this.


1990 Shareware Mag. Nov.–Dec. 9/1 This column is a place to network with other users for mutual enlightenment


Elucidate (verb) or elucidation (noun). Both require explanation to bring about a sense of greater learning.

Merriam-Webster on elucidate:

(transitive) : to make lucid especially by explanation or analysis

(intransitive) : to give a clarifying explanation

Here's two examples based on what you wrote:

At first I didn't understand the inscription, but you elucidated it for me.

You provided elucidation to me, and for that I thank you.

  • That’s the word for explaining, not for the realization that comes after the elucidation. – Jim Feb 6 '19 at 3:10
  • The thing is made lucid in your understanding by explanation or analysis. How is that different than realization? – TaliesinMerlin Feb 6 '19 at 3:34
  • OP is asking for something more like “ah ha moment” imho – Jim Feb 6 '19 at 3:40
  • Ahh. Okay. Then I think eureka is better than enlightenment or my answer, since both are bound up in the process rather than the realization itself. – TaliesinMerlin Feb 6 '19 at 3:44
  • If I don’t understand, you elucidate, I then realize. – Jim Feb 6 '19 at 3:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.