Date: 1500-1600
Language: Latin
Origin: explanare 'to make level, unfold', from planus 'level, flat'


ex‧plain S1 W1 [intransitive and transitive]
1 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.
explain that
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 to someone: He explained the system to me (NOT explained me the system).
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.

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 something ↔ away

phrasal verb
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.

Dictionary results for "explain"
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