- to state reasons for so as to justify, often by minimizing, or make understandable
- to make clear what one means
- to give reasons justifying one's conduct
Idioms, Phrasal Verbs Related to Explain
- explain away
- explain oneself
Origin of Explain
Middle English explanen, from Old French explaner, from Latin explanāre (“to flatten, to spread out, make plain or clear, explain”), from ex- (“out”) + planāre (“to flatten, make level”), from planus (“level, plain”); see plain and plane. Compare esplanade, splanade. Displaced native Middle English arecchen, irecchen (“to explain, expound”) (from Old English āreccan, ġereccan).
Middle English explanen from Latin explānāre ex- intensive pref. ex– plānus clear pelə-2 in Indo-European roots
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
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