- 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.
- to give an explanation.
- explain away,
- 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.
Origin of explain
Examples from the Web for unexplained
A place where unexplained delays are a matter of course, and where public fingernail clipping is considered only a minor sin.Leaky Ceilings, Catcalls, and Uncaged Pythons: 4 Hours on NYC’s Worst Subway
August 8, 2014
One woman said her dog came back from Green Acre with unexplained chemical burns.Arizona Opens Investigation Into Deadly Doggie Disneyland
June 25, 2014
At the time of her death police said the death was “non-suspicious” but “unexplained.”Peaches Geldof Died Of Heroin Overdose
May 1, 2014
They were well aware of the public anxiety that follows a large loss of life in unexplained circumstances.Why Is Malaysia Hiding Its Report on MH370?
April 28, 2014
“The death is being treated as a non-suspicious, but unexplained, sudden death,” a spokesman said.Peaches Geldof, Daughter of Rock Star Bob Geldof, Dies at 25
Nico Hines, Tom Sykes
April 7, 2014
He may have died solitary and unexplained; but no matter what he said, his story was safe.Tiverton Tales
He may select for enquiry some point of history or some unexplained phenomenon of nature.The Republic
That unexplained preparation was as fascinating to watch as its purport was veiled.Once to Every Man
There were some who, for some unexplained reason, were not enrolled.A Short History of English Printing, 1476-1898
Henry R. Plomer
Little by little there came to him the unexplained intuition of a danger that menaced him.En Route
J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans
- not explained or understoodunexplained phenomena
- (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
Word Origin and History for unexplained
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.