explain

ex|plain
W1S1 [ıkˈspleın] v [I and T]
[Date: 1500-1600; : Latin; Origin: explanare 'to make level, unfold', from planus 'level, flat']
1.) to tell someone about something in a way that is clear or easy to understand
Our lawyer carefully explained the procedure.
explain (to sb) why/how/what etc
The librarian will explain how to use the catalogue system.
Let me explain what I mean.
explain that
He explained that it had been a difficult film to make.
explain sth to sb
I explained the situation to the bank manager and he arranged a loan.
2.) to give a reason for something or to be a reason for something
Wait! I can explain everything.
How can you explain that sort of behaviour?
explain that
She explained that she had been ill.
explain why/how/what etc
I'll explain why I don't believe your story.
That still doesn't explain how he was able to hide the body.
3.) explain yourself
a) to tell someone who is angry or upset with you the reasons why you did something
I'm going to give you five seconds to explain yourself.
b) to say clearly what you mean
Sorry, I'm not explaining myself very well.
explain away [explain sth<=>away] phr v
to make something seem less important or bad by giving reasons for it
The difference in the treatment they receive is hard to explain away.
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HINT sense 1
You explain something to someone: He explained the system to me (NOT explained me the system).
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Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • explain — 1 Explain, expound, explicate, elucidate, interpret, construe are comparable when they mean to make oneself or another understand the meaning of something. Explain, the most general term, implies a making of something plain or intelligible to… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Explain — Ex*plain ([e^]ks*pl[=a]n ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Explained}([e^]ks*pl[=a]nd ); p. pr. & vb. n. {Explaining}.] [L. explandare to flatten, spread out, explain; ex out + plandare to make level or plain, planus plain: cf. OF. esplaner, explaner. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • explain — [ek splān′, iksplān′] vt. [ME explanen < L explanare, to flatten < ex , out + planare, to make level < planus, level (see PLANE2): sp. infl. by PLAIN1] 1. to make clear, plain, or understandable 2. to give the meaning or interpretation… …   English World dictionary

  • explain — (v.) early 15c., from L. explanare to make level, smooth out; also to explain, make clear (see EXPLANATION (Cf. explanation)). Originally explane, spelling altered by influence of plain. In 17c., occasionally used more literally, of the unfolding …   Etymology dictionary

  • explain — ► VERB 1) make clear by giving a detailed description. 2) give a reason or justification for. 3) (explain oneself) excuse or justify one s motives or conduct. 4) (explain away) minimize the significance of (something awkward) by giving an excuse… …   English terms dictionary

  • Explain — Ex*plain , v. i. To give an explanation. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • explain — I verb account for, annotate, assign a meaning to, cause to be understood, clarify, clear of obscurity, clear up, decipher, define, demonstrate, describe, disentangle, elucidate, enlighten, enucleate, exemplify, expedire, explanare, explicate,… …   Law dictionary

  • explain — [v] make clear; give a reason for account for, analyze, annotate, break down, bring out, clarify, clear up, construe, decipher, define, demonstrate, describe, diagram, disclose, elucidate, excuse, explicate, expound, get across*, go into detail,… …   New thesaurus

  • explain — ex|plain [ ık spleın ] verb *** 1. ) transitive to tell someone something in a way that helps them understand it better: My full name is Juliet Avery, Juliet explained patiently. explain something to someone: The doctor explained the risks to me… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • explain */*/*/ — UK [ɪkˈspleɪn] / US verb Word forms explain : present tense I/you/we/they explain he/she/it explains present participle explaining past tense explained past participle explained 1) a) [transitive] to tell someone something in a way that helps… …   English dictionary


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