verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- to diminish or nullify the significance of by explanation: He couldn't explain away his absence from home at the time the robbery was committed.
- to dispel (doubts, difficulties, etc.) by explanation: She explained away the child's fears.
- expiratory stridor,
- expired gas,
- explain away,
- explain oneself,
Origin of explain
Examples from the Web for explain
A grand juror in the Ferguson case is suing to be able to explain exactly what went down in the courtroom.Politicians Only Love Journalists When They're Dead|Luke O’Neil|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
I asked her to explain more about these “private customers.”Iran’s Becoming a Footloose Nation as Dance Lessons Spread|IranWire|January 2, 2015|DAILY BEAST
After the curtain calls, Christopher comes back to explain a complicated math problem.Hedwig, Hugh & Michael Cera: 12 Powerhouse Theater Performances of 2014|Janice Kaplan|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The problem is, how do you find a movie narrative that can explain genius, British or otherwise?
Nothing can be explained without the language to explain it.
I see I shall have to explain this, although I had hoped to get right along with my story.Houlihan's Equation|Walt Sheldon
In vain my mother took a world of trouble to explain the thing to me.The Essays of "George Eliot"|George Eliot
"I assure you that maman's doing it on purpose," Liza thought necessary to explain to Shatov.The Possessed|Fyodor Dostoevsky
Henry had kept me posted by letter, and it was very hard at times to explain his absence.Uncle Daniel's Story Of "Tom" Anderson|John McElroy
The two men conversed together at the gate; then Mr. Thorne returned to explain.A Touch Of Sun And Other Stories|Mary Hallock Foote
Word Origin for explain
early 15c., from Latin explanare "to make level, smooth out;" also "to explain, make clear" (see explanation).
Originally explane, spelling altered by influence of plain. Also see plane (v.2). In 17c., occasionally used more literally, of the unfolding of material things: Evelyn has buds that "explain into leaves" ["Sylva, or, A discourse of forest-trees, and the propagation of timber in His Majesties dominions," 1664]. Related: Explained; explaining; explains.