|Origin:||explanare 'to make level, unfold', from planus 'level, flat'|
ex‧plain S1 W1 [intransitive and transitive]
to tell someone about something in a way that is clear or easy to understand:
He carefully explained the procedure.
explain (to somebody) why/how/what etc
The librarian will explain how to use the catalogue system.
Let me explain what I mean.
He explained that it had been a difficult film to make.
explain something to somebody! You explain something to someone: He explained the system to me (NOT explained me the system).
I explained the situation to my bank manager.
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?
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.
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.
to say clearly what you mean:
Sorry, I'm not explaining myself very well.
explain something ↔ awayphrasal verb
The difference in the treatment they receive is hard to explain away.