How to use
'to make level, unfold'
, from planus
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
I explained the situation to my bank manager.
You explain something
He explained the system to me (NOT explained me the system).
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 ↔
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.
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
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