[ ik-spleyn ]
/ ɪkˈspleɪn /
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verb (used with object)
to make plain or clear; render understandable or intelligible: to explain an obscure point.
to make known in detail: to explain how to do something.
to assign a meaning to; interpret: How can you explain such a silly remark?
to make clear the cause or reason of; account for: I cannot explain his strange behavior.
verb (used without object)
to give an explanation.
- 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.
OTHER WORDS FOR explain
OPPOSITES FOR explain
THINGAMABOB OR THINGUMMY: CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE US AND UK TERMS IN THIS QUIZ?
Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
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In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…
Origin of explain
OTHER WORDS FROM explain
ex·plain·a·ble, adjectiveex·plain·er, ex·pla·na·tor [ek-spluh-ney-ter], /ˈɛk spləˌneɪ tər/, nounmis·ex·plained, adjectivenon·ex·plain·a·ble, adjective
o·ver·ex·plain, verbpre·ex·plain, verbre·ex·plain, verb (used with object)un·ex·plain·a·ble, adjectiveun·ex·plain·a·bly, adverbun·ex·plained, adjectiveun·ex·plain·ing, adjectivewell-ex·plained, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
British Dictionary definitions for explain
/ (ɪkˈspleɪn) /
(when tr, may take a clause as object) to make (something) comprehensible, esp by giving a clear and detailed account of the relevant structure, operation, surrounding circumstances, etc
(tr) to justify or attempt to justify (oneself) by giving reasons for one's actions or words
Derived forms of explainexplainable, adjectiveexplainer, noun
Word Origin for explain
C15: from Latin explānāre to flatten, from plānus level
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012