Explain Definition

explained, explaining, explains
explained, explaining, explains
To make clear, plain, or understandable.
Webster's New World
To give an explanation.
Webster's New World
To give the meaning or interpretation of; expound.
Webster's New World
To account for; state reasons for.
Webster's New World
To offer reasons for the actions, beliefs, or remarks of (oneself).
American Heritage
explain away
  • to state reasons for so as to justify, often by minimizing, or make understandable
Webster's New World
explain oneself
  • to make clear what one means
  • to give reasons justifying one's conduct
Webster's New World

Idioms, Phrasal Verbs Related to Explain

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).

    From Wiktionary

  • 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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